January 11, 2005 – Grilled mochi

Today I had a lazy day off. In the evening, The Penpal’s family took me out for delicious ramen. Yum! After dinner, we went back to their house and had grilled mochi, which is a Japanese New Year’s tradition.

I learned about New Year’s mochi in my Introduction to Japanese class that I took in University. The classic tradition is to take rice and pound it with a giant wooden mallet until it turns into a sticky rice cake. I was hoping to get a chance to try out my mallet swinging skills, but found out that all of the mochi had already been made in The Penpal’s aunt’s mochi machine. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but it was probably for the best. At my best I am pretty clumsy and would have likely smashed someones fingers with the mallet.

We grilled the mochi on a small indoor grill, and then ate it wrapped in seaweed or cheese. The rice cakes were sticky and delicious, and it was a fun experience for all. It was also very good Japanese practice for me. Good times!

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