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In Japan, to celebrate New Year, we make mochi (rice cake). I have no idea historical or traditional meaning of eating and making mochi over New Year, but I believe there's some kind of celebratory meaning to it. Today, January 20th, 2009 is the new era for not only this country, but the entire world, and to commemorate this special and historical day, I decided to make mochi for lunch at work.

Making mochi is pretty simple. You buy mochi rice (sticky rice), wash and soak them in water over night. Drain them, and dump them into the mochi making machine. The machine is pretty much the same as bread machine, the difference is mochi machine has water reservoir in the bottom so that it can steam the rice before kneading.

Working at Japanese cultural organization, I have mochi machine under my desk, which is used once a year for an event, if you are wondering why the hell I have one.

Around 11:15, many of my colleagues gathered in the kitchen, and started watching the ceremony, and that's when I started steaming the rice. From 11:30-12:15, the room was pretty full yet silent, everyone was watching and listening to Obama become the 44th President of the United States. The moment Obama said after struggling to remember his 1 sentence, "So help me god," that's when the mochi was done steaming and a loud buzz went off. What timing. After 10 minutes of kneading, it was done.

Below is pre-steamed rice.


Below videos are how the rice becomes mochi. Looks like alien becoming a human of some sort. This looks perfect for the occasion. Bunch of individual pieces of rice (people of many colors, backgrounds) become united and form into one big ball. Quite a representation of this country and new era. Wow, I sound smart here.









Once it's done, you break them into pieces. It's shiny, sticky and heavy. On a side note, every new year, about 10 people die every year in Japan from suffocating on mochi. It's a dangerous food in some way.


Eating mochi is basically eating rice. You want some toppings. Traditionally we eat with sugar and soy sauce mixture, or kinako below. Kinako is a ground soy, mixed with sugar. Heavenly mix.


If you don't like sweet style, you can top with natto (fermented soy beans). Japanese staple foods with rice. I think this is not a traditional way, but we like natto, so be it.


Wrapped in cheese and seaweed dipped in soy sauce. Interesting mixture of flavors.


Red beans. This one is also sweet.


I am stuffed, and we still have bunch left in the kitchen. I will go back to the kitchen to see the parade, and munch on them.

I am so relieved to see that the Bush era is over, and no matter how difficult the tasks Barack is facing, I hope he can overcome them step by step, and make this country a better one, and make us be proud to be living here. I also love Michelle for not wearing Oscar de la Renta. They are breaking history in every aspect, and I respect them a lot.

GO OBAMA!

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7 comments

  • Or you can use them as breast implants!

    tmonkey on

  • oops, I mean Cuban- Toledo is Cuban, not Spanish.

    kayoko on

  • awesome post Yama!!! thanks so much for the videos- it’s so fascinating to watch!

    i’m so sad to miss the mochi madness, but am with you in all of this Obama love. it’s just so incredible- i can’t believe it’s happening for real, finally.

    and dude, Michelle, my true inspiration, is wearing the lovliest dress. by Spaniard, Isabel Toledo! how cool is she???

    kayoko on

  • It’s not as soft as silicon, unfortunately.

    Yamahomo on

  • The toppings look so good! How come you are the only one who ever makes food around there…

    Kayoko – The gloves were great but the shoes, not so much!

    Sonja on

  • I’ll be eating something special today too. I woke up at 5am, unable to sleep and watched the speech. Incredible. I gotta move back.

    yoko on

  • omg and her green shoes and gloves!!! fucking amazing ensemble.

    kayoko on

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