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We have a lot of way of eating mochi (Japanese rice cake).

I like mochi (rice cake). Nowadays, most people buy mochi at store or supermarket.

But in old days how to make mochi in a traditional way was hard work.
1. One person pounds steamed rice* with a heavy wooden pestle. *Rice is soaked in water overnight after rinsed off in the day before making mochi. 2. The other person overturn mochi.
1. and 2. are repeated rhythmically.
The kind of rice for rice cake is different from rice for principal food. It is sticky. In addition, the stickiness is produced by how to make mochi.

I’ll introduce some kinds of Mochi and some ways of eating Mochi.
○Ankoro Mochi
Mochi covered with Ann paste (sweetened red bean paste).
The looking of Ankoro Mochi is similar to Ohagi (Botamochi). But inside Ohagi is different. Inside Ohagi is rice which is not mashed perfectly.

○Yomogi Mochi
This is green color Mochi. Because when it is made, Mochi rice was mixed with boiled a kind of weeds,Yomogi.

○Zunda Mochi
Mochi is covered mashed green soybeans, sugar, salt and…

In Japan tanabata (star festival) is held on July 7 .

When you look up at the sky at summer night, you’ll see the Milky Way.
There is a romantic story about two stars near the Milky Way.

Tanabata legend is like this:

Orihime (Shokujo-sei, Alpho Lyrae) lived in the East of the Milky way. Orihime, the Lord of heaven’s daughter, weaved heavenly garment every day.

The Lord was sorry for his daughter because she was a single. So he married her to Hikoboshi (Kengyu-sei, Alpha Aquilae).

But Orihime became not to weave at all after her marriage.The Lord was angry with her and separated them. 

He allowed her to cross the Milky Way and to see Hikoboshi once in a year at night on July 7.
The origin of this legend goes back to Chinese legends.

Except this in Japan there was a religious belief called tanabata -tsume.

The maiden called tanabata-tsume weaved the cloth to devote to gods.

And she shut herself in a weaving hut to receive gods in order to rid the villagers of impurity.

Tanabata(Star Festival) is a hybrid of Chinese legends and customs with indigenous Japanese religious beliefs.

On the night of July 6 we write our wishes on an oblong strip of paper and tie it to bamboo grass.
It is said that the wish will come true by doing that. 

Formally the bamboo is placed under the eaves on the evening of July 6 and are taken inside on July 7.
Originally this custom comes from an event called kikoden in Tou period(618~907) in China. In this event a maiden would pray for weaving skills by hanging five colored threads on the tip of a bamboo stick.

This photo is the Star Festival in Sendai in Tohoku region.

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