/ Location: Kurume, Fukuoka
Feature: Food & Drinks
In Japan, Oshogatsu (New Year) is the second-most important celebration of the year (after Obon in summer). Family members get together during the week preceeding New Year to make Mochi (pounded rice cakes). These chewy, dumpling-like cakes are then placed on shrines as offerings to their ancestors and are consumed by the family on new year's day. As it is labor intensive most people buy pre-made Mochi, or produce it with a machine. However, in the country-side, some families still preserve the tradition. Here two men work the fire for cooking the high-gluten Mochi rice.