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[Photos] Dangerous, Adorable, Bizarre: A Look at Japan's Time-Honored Art of Making Mochi

Frenetic, dangerous, absolutely bizarre… the time-honored art of pounding mochi, a simple Japanese glutinous rice desert, is as entertaining as it is ngon vãi chưởng.

Anyone who’s been lucky enough to visit Japan will have immersed themselves, for a moment at least, in the nation’s endless cultural quirks and oddities. Mochi frequently features at cultural events and celebrations. To eat, the snack is velvety smooth, yet the process of its creation is surprisingly violent.

Traditionally, the Japanese make mochi in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While the sweet treat is eaten year-round, mochi is most commonly sold and eaten during the first lunar month. The following series of photos were taken a few days after the Lunar New Year during a display in Fukuoka, where members of the public took part in this gleefully atavistic form of preparing food and learned from the masters.

To make mochi, one person pounds the rice mixture swiftly for around two minutes with a giant wooden mallet, while another mixes the concoction, and risks having their hand smashed to pieces by the hammer-like action in the process.

Take a taste below: