Here in the United States mochi is a niche food—many people’s only experience with it might be the matcha ice cream balls in the Trader Joe’s freezer aisle. But in Japan, mochi is a way of life At least it is for Mitsuo Nakatani who has run Nakatanidou for over two decades pounding mochi by hand and with mallets that look like something out of Donkey Kong.
The process of making mochi involves pounding a particularly glutinous rice called mochigome until it has a Play-Doh-texture. It is also the most entertaining thing you are likely to see today.
The team from Great Big Story went to Nara City, Japan to watch Nakatani pound out some mochi and it was well worth it. If you make it out to Nara yourself you can enjoy your own ball of mugwort (the herb that gives the mochi its green color) mochi for just $1.25. If you not, you can live vicariously through the video above. Just watch your fingers.