How to eat mochi?

Mochi (餠, もち) is a Japanese rice cake made of steamed glutinous rice that is pounded into a thick and chewy rice cake. You might think mochi is a solid/hard food as you may have seen block of hard mochi sold in supermarket in Japan, but after you cook mochi, it will become sticky and soft.

What is mochi made out of?

Mochi is made out of water and mochigome, which is a short grain glutinous rice that is used specifically for cooking mochi (Gome or Kome means rice in Japanese language so it means mochi rice). The rice is pounded and mashed into paste and made into shape.

Where can you buy mochi?

Mochi is available in supermarkets and convenient stores in Japan. There are shops that specialised in making and selling mochi. Shops that sell rice may be selling mochi as well.

How to cook mochi?

You can boil or grill mochi. Once the heat is applied to the dry mochi, the glutinous rice will become soft and chewy.

To boil – simply prepare good amount of water in a pot. Add dry mochi and let it boil until mochi softens.

To grill – you can use grill/oven to cook. You can also use fry pan and cook both sides. Let the mochi cook until it’s golden brown on both sides.

What are the common ways of eating mochi?

1. Ozoni (お雑煮)

Ozoni is a soup-based mochi.

2. Kinako Mochi(きな粉餅)

Boil or grill mochi and mix with soy bean powder. To sweeten, add sugar to the soy bean powder.

3. Isobeyaki(磯辺焼き)

Soy sauce flavoured grilled mochi.

4. Oshiruko(お汁粉)

Mochi in red bean soup.

Japanese New Year – Oshogatsu

New year is the most important day of the year in Japan. Most businesses closes operation from 1st of January to 3rd of January. Families gather together to spend the last night of the previous year and the new year together.

Eat before the new year – Toshikoshi Soba

Toshikoshi soba

Before 0am of the new year’s day, it is a tradition to eat soba noodles.

What do Japanese people do on New Years Day?

It is tradition for Japanese family to hatsumoude – meaning to visit temple or shrine to pray (sanpai) for the good year ahead.

What is Hatsuyume?

Hatsuyume is the first dream one has in the new year. The content of the dream determines whether the year will be lucky year or not.

Don’t forget to give Otoshidama

Otoshidama bukuro

Otoshidama is a Japanese traditional custom where adults give money to the children of their family, relatives or friends. The money is given in a small rectangular envelope called puchibukuro or otoshidama bukuro. As well as the traditional envelopes, you can purchase fun and cute looking envelopes with anime characters and illustrations.

There is no strict rule to how much money you should give. It can vary depending on the child’s age, how close you are, and what other relatives are giving out. For those of you who needs a bit of indication, you can give a 5 year old a 500 yen coin, and a 10 year old a 1000 yen note.

Enjoy Rice Cake

Oshiruko

Rice cakes (Mochi / Omochi) in Japan are eaten all year around, but it is tradition to eat on the new year’s day. People cook rice cakes in different ways depending on which cities you’re from but commonly it’s either
a) cooked in clear soup with meat, fish cakes and/or vegetables;
b) cooked with red bean soup for sweet flavour;
c) boiled mochi or grilled mochi with soy bean powder and sugar for sweet flavour; or
d) grilled mochi with soy sauce wrapped with seaweed.

Rice cakes are very sticky so if you have young children or elders, you should be very careful. Every year, you see news about old people choking with rice cakes and taken to hospital.

How to wear Yukata – Male & Female

When you go to Onsen, Ryokan or even at some hotels in Japan, they will provide you Yukata instead of bathrobes. Yukata does literally mean “bathing cloth”, and it was originally intended to be just that. However it is commonly worn outside during summer festivals. Yukata often gets confused with kimono but they are different – Yukata is casual and made with cottom fabric, whereas Kimono is of silk fabric.

Step 1. Put on yukata with under garments on.

Step 2. Bring the right side flap of yukata to the left, then left side to the right to fully cover the front of yukata. Check the bottom to make sure the length are even.

Step 3. Get Obi (Sash) and wrap around yukata.
For males, tie the obi around your hip.
For females, tie the obi around your waist.

Step 4. Tie the obi into a bow. To make it easy, tie in front of you, then rotate to your right hand side of waist/hip.