Especially, mochi (rice cakes) are commonly enjoyed all around the country, eaten during the New Year holiday season as part of cultural tradition. So it should come as no surprise that the process of making mochi is an art-form all in itself. But to the point of needing knife-like precision to the point of risking injury?
Not usually, but one mochi shop in Japan wows its customers with a technique that definitely shouldn’t be tried at home!Typically, mochitsuki (making or pounding mochi), is a ritual that requires two people. One person pounds the mochi with a giant wooden mallet, and the other wets the mochi and turns it over in between mallet strikes. This process, while demanding of attention and carefulness, is not particularly intense.
However, Nakatanidou in Nara prefecture is a mochi shop that boasts a pair of mochi making masters who have won a national championship on television for their mochi making speed! Prepare to be dazzled by their refined technique below.
Seemed like a blur, huh? Delivering knife-edge chops and quick strikes with the hammer, you can see that these two have forged years of trust and synchronized their technique with one another to perfect this art-form. It’s almost as if they can sense one another’s movements, and adapt to it like liquid–just very very fast!
As for the mochi itself, the reason it is green is because it is a particular type of mochi called yomogimochi, mixed with mugwort, and that gives it its green color. Here’s a picture of the finished product.
So if you find yourself in Nara prefecture and are in the mood for some mochi–look up Nakatanidou for some rice cakes made with special care. And judging by the picture on their website, it’s quite obvious they are aware of their reputation for dominating mochi!