A while back, I was obligated to work on a Saturday whereupon we joined a group of local Shiogama adults in the preparation of a New Year's treat, 餅 (mochi)!
Basically, you boil some rice, pound it into a mush and then mold it into little balls. Then you cover it in sickly sweet goop and try to choke it down. I may not make it sound very appealing, but that's because it doesn't exactly pacify my palate.
A very cool brass kettle.
Several pickled garnishes (the only tasty thing for me.)
Several of the different flavours. Clockwise from the upper left: Zundaan, Kurumian, Gomaan, Kurumian again, Koshian & なっとう or 納豆 (Natto.) Normally I can't stand Natto (fermented bean paste) but it was the tastiest of the 5 flavours offered.
A pot full of steaming gooey Azuki beans or Anko.
The following pictures will be several shots of me pounding the snot out of the rice. It was a great stress release, though you had to be certain not to shmuck the old lady in the head.
Other people pounding the mochi (and no that's not a euphemism.) You'll see a Chinese lass, Adam, direct boss Tony, big-boss Julian & a couple of Canadian girls (they were pretty good at it...all Canadians are used to this kind of labour from our seal-clubbing upbringing.)
Here are some of the finished products, mmm-mmm, they do look appetizing, but looks can be deceiving!
Once again, 90% of the people enjoyed the stuff, but I sure didn't!