New Year will be soon upon us again and that means it’s time for some traditional Japanese celebrations! New Year, called Shōgatsu in Japanese is one of the most important festivals of the year with plenty of tasty food and drink, as well as a fantastic variety of interesting customs.
If you want to experience some of the fun that happens during the Japanese New Year celebrations, why not join us at Japan Centre and get involved. There’s free samples to be had to make it even more tempting! :)
Called mochitsuki in Japanese, mochi pounding is the custom of pounding large amounts of mochi rice into soft, stretchy and sticky mochi! Using a giant hammer and a huge mortar, one person hammers down on the mochi while another person adds water and flips the mochi over in between pounding to stop it from sticking. It is a technique that takes a lot of coordination, but is certainly quite a show to watch. You can find out more about mochi and mochi making in our blog post on the subject.
Want to see some authentic mochi pounding at Japan Centre? Head over to Japan Centre Piccadilly and enjoy the spectacle. We will even have some free mochi to give away to anyone who wants to try this authentically made Japanese sweet.
Sake ‘Cask Opening’ Ceremony
Kagami Biraki literally means ‘opening the mirror’ in Japanese and refers to an ancient ritual of opening either a type of mochi, or more recently breaking open a ceremonial cask of sake. This is a common practice which although traditionally done just after New Year, is now popularly done at weddings, opening ceremonies for new businesses and other various special occasions in Japan.
We will be breaking open our very own cask of Gekkeikan sake at Japan Centre Piccadilly. If you’ve recovered from New Year’s Eve, you can also grab a free taste of the sake after the ceremony! :)