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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week 50 January 13 - 19, 2014

Well we just completed week 50, which is exactly 1/2 of our 100 week mission (23 months).  That is quite a mile stone, and we have had such a great experience between Kumamoto and Fukuoka Mission Office service.  We love it so much, with many challenges and rewards.

This week started off with a bang, of experiencing making mochi, a new years tradition in Japan.  Here are some photos.

Wiki-How, says, "Mochi is a type of Japanese rice cake. Very chewy and sweet, it takes some effort to make, but it is worth the effort and indeed, making mochi is both an art form and a tradition. It is often referred to as "o-mochi", an honorific added to show that this is considered a sacred food.[1] Mochi is an indispensable part of New Year celebrations in Japan."

While making o-mochi, an older member of the church pointed out to us some references in the Old Testament where, in the Japanese translation of the bible, rice cake, is rendered as mochi.

Numbers 11:7,8
And the amanna was as bcoriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.
 And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.
The member felt it was related, but it may be just a translation issue.
The first thing you do is cook a special Glutinous Sweet Rice Flour.  It is cooked on a steam trays, as the bottom one is done a new tray is put on top and they all move down.

The cooked bottom tray is dumped into the mortar, this is a stone mortar (they say it works better since it is harder that a wooden mortar).  The mortar is the same idea as in Numbers.

Then you use the mallets to mash the rice into a pound-able mass, other wise it might just bounce out of the mortar when it is pounded.

Now you pound the living daylight out of it.  It's best if two people do it, to share the work, but careful coordination is required between the pounders and the person folding the rice over to keep the process uniform.

When it is done you can remove it in a mass or in small portions, as here.

The final step is to form it into forms, plain round ball with or without rolling in powdered soy flour and sugar, to wraping it around a sweet bean paste.

Many people wonder about the many similarities of Japanese Shinto Buddhism and many ancient Israelite traditions, of which this is one.  Shinto Buddhism, is unique to Japan and distinct from other forms of Buddhism.
After this fun experience two Elders were interested in going to a recycled goods event (like a flee market but much better) in the huge Fukuoka Dome.  We were happy to take them, but when we arrived it had just closed, so we walked around the Dome.  They has an interesting way of honoring those who have performed there by having their hand in hand-shake position molded in bronze and available to shake.  I shook the hand, so to speak, of Paul McCartney, and Micheal Jackson.

I is quite typical when you take pictures of people in Japan, for them to put their hands into the "V" sign, which is shown here in statue.

Thursday we took a run to Costco.  We need to go to Kumamoto for routine doctor's visits and to take our Japanese Driver's Licence tests.  At Costco we wanted to get some American non perishables to stock up the Kumamoto Apartment.  We will be moving back shortly after the new office couple arrives on February 8th.  We did a little shopping around some of the american style stores, including the Gap, here is a Christmas decoration still up.

On Friday we took a midday stroll around the Fukuoka Zoo, located right by the Mission Home.  It was a good break from counting beans, as they say.  The penguins were cool.

This is a Japanese Black Bear.

Giraffe's are always cool.

But their barns are quite tall.

The chimps are disturbed at the poor quality of one human that had to observe today, me.

However I had a good conversation with a friendly orangutan.

I think she liked my home teaching lesson about making new years resolutions, while enjoying a wonderful greens salad and tanning.
Luetta even took a ride on an elephant.

Hope you all enjoy a joyous and prosperous new year also.

1 comment:

  1. Making omochi is one thing I didn't get to do because my companion was sick that fun to see the pictures! I'm enjoying your blog.


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I have worked 30 years at Del Monte Foods in Walnut Creek CA, 5 years at Ralston Purina in San Diego CA, 7 years at Carnation in Oconomowoc WI