Monday, December 5, 2011

Mochi Tsuki

Life has kept me pretty busy for the past few days and kept me away from here,  but it's also given me new stuff to write about.   So, pretty sure that's a good thing.

This past Sunday Yosei's preschool held their Mochi Tsuki Taikai. Basically its a big event in which we smash sticky rice into a stick paste with a big mortar and pestle  and then turn that sticky paste into mochi (sticky rice cakes). 
They decided to have the event on a Sunday to makes sure the dads could come (rice smashing requires somemanly muscle). A lot of the dads, my husband included, have to work Saturdays (We're actually lucky because he gets the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month off).
Unfortunately, even though it was a Sunday the timing was the same as any normal school day :P  I was up at 6:30 getting breakfast ready and got Kiyo and the kids up around 6:50.  After  toast and coffee it  was time to get dressed.  Yosei knew we were going to school but he was very upset with me because he wasn't being dressed in his usual uniform, but rather in his P.E. wear.  He kept on insisting he needed to wear his jacket and his blue hatto go to school.  A rough start to say the least. 
Finally a little after 8:30 we got the kids loaded up on the Momcycle and Kiyo followed us on his bicycle allthe way to preschool.   This was actually Kiyo's first time to see Yosei's classroom and his morning  routine and all,  he didn't say anything nice about it  but I'm pretty sure he enjoyed seeing it.
So after the morning routine and the singing of good morning songs the kids were brought out into the playground, told to wash their hands, and then were brought over to the rice smashing stations.  The dads got to start with the smashing (some very heavy labor indeed) and once it was nearly done they kids were each given a turn (assisted by a parent) at some good ol' rice smashing.  There were 3 smashing stations: 1 for the oldest class, 1 for the middle and youngest class, and 1 for older sibs and kids who plan on joining next year; and each station went through the smashing process twice.
After all the smashing was completed the kids were all brought over to sit down and enjoy some of that mochi they worked so hard to make.  There are lots things they put on or in mochi to give it some flavor: black sesame seeds, anko (sweet bean paste), soy sauce, etc.  This time (and as far as I know every year) our yochien makes kinako (soybean flour) mochi. They mix the kinako with a little sugar to make it sweet, it was delicious and a little disappointing that they didn't give out more.  At the very end though everybody was given anko filled mochi called daifuku to bring home.  Exhausting but all in all a fun day.
 Free play time with Haruki First thing in the morning.
 Keia getting her fill of free play time too.
 Time to wash hands
 Kiyo (on the right) doing his fatherly duty of smashing rice.
 Kiyo helping Yosei make mochi
 Waiting to eat 

Keia got some too!

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