On Going Out For Sushi with Good Friends
Three pairs of eyes track
traveling morsels. The mochi shared
seems even sweeter.
Linked (fortuitously!) with Carpe Diem Haiku a Day #642, Mirror Rice Cakes (Kagamimochi)
Today’s Haiku writing prompt from the Carpe Diem website was Kasgamimochi – a special traditional Japanese New Year decoration made from two rice cakes or mochi. A small one is balanced on a larger one (sort of like a mini mochi snowman), with a daidai, a type of bitter orange placed on top. They encourage Toshigami, the god of the new year, to bring good luck and prosperity – something we could all do with. Strangely enough today was also the day I had my first positive encounter with a rice cake! Serendipity and all that…
According to our Carpe Diem host, Chèvrefeuille, this shimekazari New Year decoration can mean “generation to generation”, the small orange symbolising continuity of the generations and long life, while the mochi represent the past year and the year to come. So, kagamimochi symbolizes the continuity of the family over the years.
I count my best friends as ‘family’ too – and today I was lucky enough to be invited out for lunch with a couple of my favourite people to celebrate the birthday of of one of them I have been friends with since primary school. She fancied going out for sushi so we headed to Harvey Nichols and the Yo Sushi restaurant on the top floor (one of the only sushi places in Edinburgh with a little conveyer belt – I never tire of watching the food whizz round!).
I was extra happy as I love Japanese food. Went on the holiday of a lifetime there in 2005 and had the most amazing experiences – culinary and otherwise. Only thing I wasn’t that keen on was the sweet treats. They looked beautiful enough – row upon row of these pastel coloured creations shaped like cartoon creatures or the most perfect flowers. And the packaging! All these coordinated boxes and ribbons and paper were just so gorgeous i could have filled my suitcase twice over with them. All displayed so perfectly on sweet little carts in subway concourses or shops. But when we finally bought some and tried them? Meh… All bean paste and slightly off-putting textures and tastes. So it was with some trepidation that I decided to try the chocolate mochi my friends had ordered. Especially as they decided to tell me all about the mochi-related deaths that occurred in Japan at new year, just as i was about to take a bite. Turns out not only is the glutinous texture slightly unfamiliar to western palates but the traditional mochi eaten at new year can also cause choking if not cut up into small pieces or chewed properly, particularly in the elderly. The pronouncement from Japan’s emergency services? Don’t eat them alone. Good advice – I always find food tastes far sweeter in the company of friends anyway….
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