On Saturday was the annual mochitsuki - or mochi rice pounding - at Katsuura Elementary school. You pound steamed rice with a big wooden mallet and then shape it into the traditional mochi rice cake.
No child labor laws in Japan. Get to work!
Getting ready to have a go...
They also use this high speed contraption to pound the rice.
C'mon, how adorable is this?
Sandy asserting her authoritah!
Now when was the last time you saw these two working together in harmony?
Sandy liked this pic because it looked like she was about to hit me in the head.
My moment of shame.
I failed to keep the mallet wet, so the rice wouldn't stick to it, and ended up accidentally pulling the whole ball of mochi out of the pestle and it fell on the ground.
Everyone laughed and I hung my head in sadness.
Later, they all said "That has never-ever-ever-ever happened before!"
I blame my overdeveloped sense of enthusiasm.
Then the rice is separated and rolled into rice cake balls.
The children love me and swarm about me!
Like a pride of lions would swarm the injured gazelle, for example.
The children love the shaved bald head.
I'm horrible with names, and probably only know a dozen student names... so I always think of this incredibly adorable young man as "Mullet Boy".
Great kid. Nice, friendly, smart... but, you know... mullet.
Me begging for mochi from my students.
The kids are cute too.
The Merry Xmas sign at the school - made out of plastic PET bottles. How clever.
A couple more mochitsuki photos at this link.