Mochi is a rice cake with a chewy texture that is made by pounding steamed sweet rice. It plays an traditional role in New Year celebrations as it represents good luck and a long life.
On a clear January day, I went to Daita Hachiman Shrine for a “mochi tsuki” (mochi pounding) event. The men put in the muscle making the mochi, even the kids got a few swings in. But the ladies did all the hard work making all the rice balls. Luckily, no hands were smashed in the process. In the end, everyone enjoyed eating the mochi and hope for a great 2015.