we were invited to a mochi-tsuki taikai (mochi pounding ceremony) today by a japanese friend. well, actually, she's the wife of rupert's boss ... but a potential future friend. ian's familiar with the machine-made mochi but he's never seen the traditional way of making mochi, which uses something similar to a mortar and mallet. special mochi rice is steamed and placed in the mortar (usu) and pounded with the mallet (kine). ian even got to pound some rice with a mini kine.
you have to be very careful when eating mochi because it can easily get lodged in your throat if you take too big of a bite or don't chew it thoroughly. every year people die from choking on mochi. so we were cautious when feeding maya the mochi, but she liked it enough to eat it with red bean (azuki) and (kinako).