The first few days of the year are go time for the folks at Kagami Kai: This small local organization is dedicated to making traditional Japanese New Year's sweets. Really. That's all they do. It's awesome. But they're pretty busy right now, so no way can you call them up and see if they want to come over to your house, hang out, and whip you up a batch of hand-crafted mochi. Instead, catch the rice-pounding team at its annual Mochitsuki! event. Taiko drums keep time while squads of hammer-wielding people rhythmically transform soaked, polished glutinous rice into a sticky and delicious pastry. Don't put your hand in the stone usu, please. Afterwards, everyone gets a taste of mochi, which in its fresh form is incredibly rare, even in Japan.
Sat., Jan. 3, noon, 2009