I got volunteered to take part in a mochitsuki – essentially a “ceremony” involving beating the fuck out of rice with a large wooden mallet until it turns into mochi — a sticky “rice cake” as they call it, eaten rather commonly around New Years.
They had it at my daughters kindergarten on Saturday (yes, Japanese kids have school even on Saturday).
First they cook the rice in kama:
Then all the guys (in this case a bunch of fathers with hangovers from bounenkai — including myself), commence in beating the crap out of stuff:
There are actually two phases: first you kind of walk around in a circle and flatten the rice out as best as possible, usually using your upper leg on the mallet for leverage. This part is actually probably the most tiring. From there, you alternate swinging the mallets down from over your head while one of the ladies folds the rice over in between swings (while you try not to pound her hand in the progress).
Then you do this, like all fucking day long:
It was fun, a good experience, but man, it’s horribly tiring. Those large wooden mallets are crazy heavy and they gave my body a once over.
The mochi was yummy though.