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May 20, 2017 - Trip to Kadogawa in Miyazaki-ken [Yanagimochi Making]
We rounded out our visit to Kadogawa with a little craft project?yanagimochi making! Yanagimochi is a special New Year’s decoration made by sticking colored pieces of mochi onto willow branches, or yanagi. In Kadogawa the decoration is usually made around January 7th, displayed in the entrance of one’s home for a week, and then eaten off the tree on January 15th, the traditional end of the New Year’s holiday. This is similar to another New Year’s mochi tradition in which two mochi cakes topped with a tangerine are set out in the home and then eaten on January 15th. This kagami mochi is usually broken up into pieces and added to sweet red bean soup (zenzai), but the yanagimochi is generally eaten as is?stale and one week old!
Mochi is a sticky rice cake made by pounding freshly boiled mochi rice (mochigome) with wooden mallets so that the rice breaks down and becomes one sticky, gelatinous mass. Typically mochi is formed into small, round cakes and sometimes filled with anko (sweet bean paste), but that day our mochi was destined for our willow branches, not our stomachs. The mochi was divided into three groups?one was left plain, one was dyed red, and the last was dyed green (sometimes yellow mochi is also used). Breaking off pea-sized pieces, we wrapped the mochi around the twigs on our branches. It is hard to get an even distribution of the three colors and you have to be careful not to make your mochi pieces too big lest the branches become too heavy and sag.
Luckily there was some mochi left over so we all got to snack on fresh mochi cakes and cold tea as we admired our handiwork. There are so many uses for mochi in Japanese cuisine (in soup, in curry, as a dessert) but fresh, still warm mochi is always a treat.
video is here!→https://youtu.be/pENBFbCQEb8 https://youtu.be/UZbPCXxz_LA https://youtu.be/pSE7rxNVZxk