My friend Junko took me to a kinder activity at a local elementary school. There must have been about 60 kids whose ages range from about 4 to 5 years old. They were all seated on a turquoise colored tarpaulin, in their turquoise colored uniforms and little tiny turquoise colored shoes were all arranged on the edges of the tarp! What a sight. They all wore little tiny caps, yellow, white, red.. oh they are so cute!!
When the grown ups started the mochi process, they all stood up, put their shoes on and gathered round the huge wooden pounders chanting out songs. I am amazed how they knew which shoes belonged to them!
To make mochi, rice is cooked and then placed inside the huge wooden vessel. Then a couple of guys used big pounders and they took turns to pound the boiled rice until they are soft and gooey but pliable. Then, they are made into balls and some are soaked in soy sauce and wrapped in seaweed or dipped in soy powder and sugar. They are quite delicious, although, you could gag on one if you put too much in your mouth! I discovered that the hard way! You have to take small bites and chew slowly.
I forgot how cute kids are when they are all gathered together.