The Rice Cake festival on the first day of school last week was taped and about five minutes of it were broadcast on the local cable TV station. We don't subscribe to cable, but the guide channel, where they're showing the program with other local news, is available for free as our apartment building is wired in to the cable system.
International students from the nearby national university were invited to experience the tradition and share in the hard work of pounding sticky rice in the big wooden "mortars" with heavy wooden hammers until it became a single, smooth, sticky and hot mass of MOCHI (rice cake). There were seven "pounding" stations in order to make enough to feed all the elementary school students quickly. This year's coordinator asked me to be there to chat with the international students. They, another foreign mom (from China) and I were asked to make short speeches about New Year's customs from our own countries.
The cable TV program shows the pounding process, a mini concert by the university brass ensemble over the din of 550 kids enjoying their rice cakes and me (and my chins) on stage making them all say "Happy New Year!" in English.
All three girls are shown with their respective classes and there's a nice close up of N while the narrator explains that "some children returned for second and third helpings..."
Posted by Kathy on Saturday, January 22, 2005