anko

Anpan man showed up at this Hanazono shrine festival

For no discernible reason, someone dressed as Anpan man showed up at the Hanazono festival. He’s the #1 comic character for the nursery school through elementary school.

True to character, he tore off pieces of his face to feed strangers. He also offered red bean paste (in a purple plastic bag, below) with the bread that is his face. Not sure why this guy dressed up for the festival.

Other shrine visitors enjoyed his company, too!

Mochi-making party

Mochi-making party, grilled

Sunday we spent the day at the in-laws performing a year-end mochi-making party. After soaking the rice grains overnite, they are drained, and then taken into the back yard.

Using a huge wooden mallet, someone pounds the grains in a bowl made from a single piece of tree trunk. One person pounds, while the other brave person turns the dough. Eventually, it becomes sticky.

Mochi-making party, pounding

Mochi is fairly tasteless. At the party it was served many ways– with anko (sweet beans), with grated daikon, with sesame paste, with walnut paste, and kinako (dry soy powder). My favorite is grilled (see above), soaked in soy sauce, and placed between some nori seaweed.

You have to see the movie to really understand how domestic and primitive mochi-making is.