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Community Mochi Making in Japan
Come new year in neighborhoods around Japan, you’ll see steam rising, and hear wooden hammers pounding and men and women grunting and yelling. What’s going on?
It’s a tradition here to make ‘mochi,’ a rice cake produced by steaming rice, and whacking it (until your arms are sore) with giant wood mallets in a stone mortar (usu). After the rice becomes a thick doughy consistency, it is formed into balls and often stuffed with various kinds of sweet fillings.
Though the tradition waned over the past few decades, in recent years many young farmers in and around Japan’s large cities are reviving the community tradition. The film above was made at just such an event, hosted by Morning Dew Farm in Kobe.