Monday, January 12, 2009


Happy Year of the Cow everyone!! This time last year I was sitting around a light-bright table @ Endor (Mary's house) warming Sake on the potbelly stove & trying to convince my friends to eat the baby anchoives I had personally fried for the Japanese New Year. This year I went to celebrate the Japanese New Year with whom? .... the Japanese.

I really wanted to go to the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens for two reasons.
1) See how they did Mochitsuki.
2) Buy getta to drive my mother nuts with. (There wooden flip-flops on stilts.)
I didn't get the getta because they wanted $16 for them & I won't bother my Mum for over $5. But I did get to see the Mochitsuki.

Mochitsuki is the pounding of the rice to make mochi, a sweet rice dessert. It is called Mochitsuki because while its worked it looks like a round sphere like tsuki- the moon.

First they put the steamed rice in this ceramic urn that they pounding into, two wooden mallets that you can see off to the left & water to keep them wet so the rice doesn't stick to them.

Then the pounding starts. You see the old Grannie in her yukata with an apron over is over seeing the work. There were a handfull of back up Grannies in the shade but no Shonen (Japanese boys) to do the pounding....I won't comment on that BUT it was good that they had back up Grannies- this one got her hand hit once by a mallet. Ouch!

Here is a slow moment where the mallet is getting wetted & the Grannie is turning the mochi. After a while during the pounding she has to stick her hand in there after ever pound to rotate it. After she got her hand hit once she started calling out when the boy could hit next.

There were plenty of other events going on. (Sorry, no fried anchoives Rachel.) But what would be a Japanese celebration without Taiko Drumming?! I would love to do taiko. It looks so ventive. But then I look at the costumes of just a bib top & think about how I would look pounding a drum with my flabby upper arms.....moving on.....The had a Shishimai dancing with the drums, i.e. a lion dancer.

Here's a list of some of the Japanese events & my definitions:

Hanetsuki Two wooden pattles & a oval wooden object that looks like a fishing lure. This would be Japanese badminton, no net though.

Fukuwarai The goddess of happiness game. Japanese Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey

Jan Ken Pon Activity similar to rock, paper, scissors.

Daruma Otoshi A stack of wooden blocks are hit from the bottom up with a hammer into a box with a dragons head in it. The object is to hit them all at the dragon without the stack falling over.

Karuta Japanese card game similar to Memory. Do you remember that?

Omikuji Japanese fortune telling sticks. I did this & my stick said that I was going to have an excellant year. It better be right!!

Miss you more than the chance do Kakizome & the Sado Tea Ceremony,