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Mochi_tsuki
Just a few, random thoughts...
What is mochi_tsuki? 
27th-Nov-2005 03:02 pm
militant owl
Mochi is the Japanese word for a paste made out of pounded rice.  Its wonderfully adaptable - it can be shaped in many ways, stuffed or coated with either sweets or savories.  Mochi can be made by machine or from a mix, but the real mochi is made by the process of mochi_tsuki (literally 'mochi making').  This is a community event performed for special occasions - temple festivals, new years, school sports days, etc..  Everyone takes a turn either pounding the rice with a mallet or turning the rice between mallet-strokes.  The first serve of the mochi is an offering - to the gods, an ancestor, whoever.  The rest is divided up and eaten by all the participants.  I wanted a handle that encompassed my love of Asian culture and food, a sense of shared community, and a touch of the divine.  My first icon shows a traditional Shinto New Year's offering - two mochi cakes with pine sprigs, bamboo pieces (hard to see, they're just above the bottom corners), mandarin oranges and pure white rice paper (all heavily symbolic).  This would be put on the shelf with the tablets of the ancestors to feed their spirits and ask for prosperity in the coming year.
Comments 
27th-Nov-2005 08:58 pm (UTC)
Interesting! And an appropriate and unique LJ name. The rice is raw when it's pounded, yes? and the resulting powder made into a paste? Also, is it pronounced with a hard ch (mokey) or soft (mochee)?

27th-Nov-2005 10:44 pm (UTC)
Oh no, raw rice would just make powder. This is cooked, sticky rice. Think of it like kneading dough - the stickiness gets absorbed as the mass gets smoother. Its pronounced 'mochee'.
27th-Nov-2005 10:50 pm (UTC)
OK, I just tried to visualize pounding raw rice. Had I mentioned they use a really big mallet? Grains flying everywhere - wheee! Here's a site that has some pictures to help you get the idea:

http://www2.una.edu/cdblackburn/2004Spring/Mochitsuki.htm

(you'll have to cut and paste, I haven't figured out how to put links in here yet)
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