Pounding rice into mochi is a very popular Japanese tradition. We have found that most wards have a mochi party sometime in the month of January. Here is Sister McIntyre taking her turn at the Kobe Ward Mochitsuki Party.
Wet rice is pounded with the mallet, and everyone takes a turn, until it turns into a sticky stretchy ball. It is then divided up into several smaller balls or pieces. You can then eat it in many ways or it can be dried to extend its shelf life for future consumption.
Mochi balls are good in homemade Japanese soup, stuffed with strawberries or Japanese red bean paste, both sweet treats, or baked/microwaved or fried with soy sauce and/or cheese. The Kobe ward had a big turn out and the missionaries had several investigators and friends attend. Everyone enjoyed the food and it was a beautiful January day for the activity.