Preparing for the New Year – Mochitsuki/Rice Cake Pounding

Traditionally, mochi was made from whole rice, in a labor-intensive process. The traditional mochi-pounding ceremony in Japan is Mochitsuki:

  1. Polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight and cooked.
  2. The cooked rice is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine.
  3. The sticky mass is then formed into various shapes (usually a sphere or cube).

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