Tag Archives: kagami

The Mochi Project

It’s a standard tradition in Japan to have a Kagami Mochi for the new year. Normally, this is placed in front of the Kamidana and serves as a reminder for the renewal and togetherness that this time of the year brings. Last year, we got our Kagami Mochi really really late. And it didn’t come in until after the new year. This year, it at first appeared that there would be no available mochi- so we decided we were going to make our own.

The process is fairly simple, but quite messy. I decided to take pictures of the whole ordeal for all of you to look at 🙂

Ingredients for the mochi. We used a recipe featured on Cooking with Dog (on Youtube). If you ever are interested in learning more about Japanese cooking, I highly recommend their channel.

The process is fairly simple. You take the mochiko, mix it with sugar and then add water. Mix it well. You boil water in a pot, and once it reaches boiling point, you’ll put your mixture’s pot on top of it- double broiler style. You put a large towel covered lid over that, and let it go to town for 15 minutes. Apparently, if you wanted, you could microwave it instead.

Afterwards, you take your mixture out of the pot and lay it onto a pile of katakuri starch (potato starch). Depending on what you’re making, you might need to work quickly and mess with the mochi before it cools. For us, we were able to let the mochi rest before trying to form it into balls.

We had an issue with the balls wanting to melt into pancakes. However, if you keep at it, eventually the balls will hold their shape pretty well. Be prepared to go through a lot of starch. Be prepared to make a huge huge mess 😛

We let our balls rest for a while. During this time, I set up the ozen for the mochi which included trying to make shide. I was only partially successful. Afterwards we placed them onto a plate and then put the plate into the ozen. We decided to decorate our mochi with the orange and crane from last year’s mochi. It would have been better to use a real mini orange, but we couldn’t find any small enough. All of the Clementines were waaaaay too big this year. So we opted for a fake one.

After it was all said and done, we placed it up in front of the kamidana. We’ll be eating it in a few weeks. Not sure what we will make out of it yet, but we’ll figure something out.

The whole experience was pretty fun. Trying to work quickly mixed with long periods of waiting made for an interesting dynamic in the kitchen. It was quite difficult to not eat everything in sight. I love mochi ❤ I feel like the energy spent and the bonding that came from making it ourselves made it a better offering to the Kami than a store bought plastic kagami mochi (technically there are real mochi inside). Even though the shape isn’t perfect, and the technique isn’t quite correct, the energy and thought make a larger impact. And I can’t wait to make another batch next year!


Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Shintoism


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The Great Clean of 2011

Cleaning. Is Fun. (borrowed from Flickr)

As I understand it, it is a common practice in Japanese culture to clean your house from top to bottom for New Years. Doing so more or less clears your slate for the upcoming year. It allows you to have good things come to you in the new year- because all of the crap has been cleared away.

I love this concept. I use it as a part of my Shinto practice, as I feel it’s focus on cleanliness and returning to a pure/clean state (such as Zep Tepi in Kemeticism) really mirrors the whole concept of The Great Clean. And after the Great Clean of 2010, I felt that I had cleared some of the drama from my life. I felt that it played a role in restoring some order in my life. That it cleared some chaos and stagnation away and allowed me to move forward to where I am now.

So this past weekend commenced the Great Clean of 2011. Due to being busy, we have broken up the Great Clean into multiple weekends. Each weekend we’ll pick certain areas of our house, or certain tasks to do. And hopefully, by the time Jan 1 hits, the house will be completely clean and ready for the new year. This past weekend we worked on cleaning out the kitchen. Getting rid of items we no longer need or use and taking them to the Goodwill (and actually, you know, taking them there. Not just leaving them in a pile by the door). We also got to work trying to sell our futon, which has been waiting to be sold since the beginning of Nov.

We also made the decision this past weekend that we will be making our own Kagami Mochi this year. Our normal place for buying it doesn’t seem to be carrying them this year. And at this rate, SAL wouldn’t get here in time. So we shall attempt to make our own. This will be the first year where we have an actual ofuda in the Kamidana- so I think it’s fitting that they get real Kagami Mochi, not a fake plastic one. Hopefully it will turn out well :3 I also need to get the Kamidana and it’s shelf all set up and ready for New Year and it’s ofuda. Which should be an adventure in and of itself.

Looks like I’ve got a lot to do before New Years hits.



Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Shintoism


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