Mochi (餅) is a Japanese cake made of rice that has been pounded into a paste.
The traditional method of preparing mochi is called mochitsuki, a ceremony where whole rice is pounded with a large wooden mallet (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu).
Mochi is eaten all year but it is a traditional food of the New Year in Japan.
Stephanie and I were invited to participate in mochitsuki with friends in the Northern Japanese castle town of Hirosaki.
Afterwards we made snow sculptures with the kids and ate sushi (another new years treat) with apple cider.