Creating the gelatinous deliciousness that is mochi is no easy feat. Rice has to be pounded repeatedly until it reaches the perfect soft, squishy consistency.
Japanese mochi craftsman Mitsuo Nakatani (of the Nara-based shop Nakatanidou) creates the treats in what is basically a lightning-fast boxing match with a pile of rice. Using a traditional method, one person pounds the mochi with a wooden mallet and the other folds the mixture over and over, taking care not to get their fingers smashed in the process. According to Nakatani, over the course of a two-minute session of mochi-making, he averages about three poundings per second.
“To me, making mochi is like a battle,” he says. And victory is oh-so sweet.