Monday, January 12, 2015
Heaven with Mochi
Sticky New Year’s Treat
Turns Deadly in Japan
At least nine people have reportedly choked to death on New Year’s rice cakes in Japan, and officials are urging people to chew slowly on the treats.
Sticky rice cakes or “mochi” are an essential part of the Japanese New Year’s menu.
But the glutinous mochi, grilled or cooked in broth or with sweet beans, can get stuck in people’s throats.
The Yomiuri newspaper reported Friday that at least 128 people were rushed to hospitals after choking on mochi, with nine dying.
The Tokyo Fire Department said Monday that 18 people were taken to city hospitals during the first three days of the year and three males died.
The department advised people to cut mochi in small pieces, chew slowly and learn first aid.
In addition to the Tokyo deaths, three people died in Chiba prefecture, while one each died in Osaka, Aomori and Nagasaki prefectures, the newspaper reported.
In the Nagasaki case, an 80-year-old man choked on a mochi that was in sweet bean soup served for free at a Shinto shrine.
Japanese customarily visit shrines and temples to welcome the new year, and mochi, sake and other treats are sold or given out.
【The Associated Press】
(Photos from Denman Library)
Page 9 “Metro News of Vancouver”
Tuesday, Janauary 6, 2015
Kato, I wonder if any of your family in your hometown of Japan has ever chocked to death.
Oh no, nobody! As far as I know, none of my family have ever choked on mochi before because all the members have been quite slow in eating mochi. Slow-eating is one of my family traits, I suppose.
I’m glad to hear that. By the way, Kato, did you eat some mochi on the New Year’s Day?
Yes, I did. To tell you the truth, I ate four pieces of mochi for the first time in 30 years.
Why is that?
Well… As you know, Mayumi’s dream has come true and now she is in Vancouver. So Mayumi and I celebrated her new life in Vancouver while eating mochi on the New Year’s Day.
How did you eat mochi?
Actually, I wrote about it the other day.
How to make Zenzai or
“mochi in sweet red-bean soup”
Zenzai hasn’t changed a bit for long, and it is a staple snack of cold season.
In good old days, Zenzai used to wait for you to be eaten on the stove in your living room while you were preoccupied with other things.
But it doesn’t seem to go quite so these days.
If you ever want to make Zenzai over the gas stove, you might just as well make a delicious Zenzai.
Boil and make the red beans completely soft.
After throwing out the water, you add 250 ml of water and 200 grams of suger to make a delicious Zenzai
I’ll teach you how to boil the red beans and make a Zenzai with an elegant sweetness.
【Ingredients of Zenzai】
• red beans … 250g
• sugar … 200g
• water added at the last sweetening process … 250ml
• a pinch of salt
1) Selection of red beans
for making delicious Zenzai
The basics of make Zenzai
① Tannins or bitterness can be removed by boiling twice.
When this is done, you boil it for the third time and cook for an hour.
② After throwing out the water, you add 250 ml of water and 200 grams of suger and then boil it.
NOTE: Before the removal of tannins, take a close look at the red beans placed in a pot.
When you find discolored red beans, please remove them.
2) Removal of tannins or astringency
Wash red beans in a pot, and add one litre of water.
Then put it on fire.
Note: 1) The red beans do not need to be in water before boiling.
It is okay to place the pot on fire as soon as the beans and water come together in the pot.
2) In the first removal of tannins, add a plenty of water, instead of a little bit of water.
Once it boils, throw out the water and then add a plenty of water for the second boiling.
Even after the second boiling, the red beans are still hard.
The red beans become tender in the next step.
3) The basics of boiling red beans
Once it boils for the third time, don’t discard the water.
You cook the red beans until they become tender.
You cook them in low heat for at least an hour.
NOTE: 1) While being cooked, the water gets less.
Please add some water so that the red beans always remain under water.
In about an hour, the red beans will become tender so that you could feel the softness with your fingers.
However, if the red beans are fresh, you could make them tender in less than one hour.
Please cook them carefully while checking the softness.
As the red beans become soft, proceed to the next step.
When I made the Zenzai using the fresh red beans, they became soft in about 40 minutes.
4) How to make it sweet
Place the sodtened red beans in a pot with 250 ml of water and 200 grams of suger as well as a pinch of salt.
The amount of water at this time is 250 ml—no more, no less.
Once it boils, you cook them about 10 minutes in low heat.
Bake enough pieces of mochi in a toaster or an oven.
Serve a bowl of sweet red-bean soup with two pieces of mochi.
Source: “Zenzai@Overseas” （お汁粉@海外）
The Original in Japanese
(Photos from Denman library)
Ummmm… looks delicious… Why didn’t you call me? I would’ve been delighted to have some mochi with Mayumi.
I thought you were not accustomed to sticky mochi. If you had eaten a piece of mochi, you might have gone to Heaven. So I dared not call you.
Nonsense! I know how to eat mochi. Anyway, do you think, Kato, those people who choked to death on mochi went to Heaven?
Of course, they did because Japanese customarily visit shrines and temples to welcome the new year. So those who died with mochi naturally welcome the new year in Heaven.
Anyway, Diane, I’ve got something for you to experience a heavenly feeling.
What is it?
Recently, I’ve viewd interesting movies:
■“Actual Catalogue Page”
I see… So you saw two movies about Heaven, didn’t you?
Yes, I did.
Tell me about “Seven Minures in Heaven”.
■“Actual Catalogue Page”
So, you jotted down your comment after viewing it on January 9, huh?
Yes, I did. Galia, a young woman from Jerusalem, got almost killed by the terroist attack. The bus she rode exploded and she stopped breathing for 7minutes when she was rescued from the enflaming bus.
Then what happened to Galia?
Well… she wandered in Heaven during those seven minutes.
It is a thought-provoking film about the soul and body. I’m sure you would like it.
How about the other one—“All That Heaven Allows”?
■“Actual Catalogue Page”
So, you jotted down your comment after viewing it on January 7, huh?
Yes, I did. It’s about Cary Scott, a well-to-do widow, and Ron Kirby, a much younger gardener. Both fall in love. Cary is an affluent widow in suburban New England, whose social life involves her country club peers, college-age children, and a few men vying for her affection.
I see… seems interesting.
Yes, it is. Cary becomes interested in Ron, who turns out an intelligent, down-to-earth and respectful yet passionate younger man.
Then what happens?
Ron introduces Cary to people who seem to have no need for wealth and status and she responds positively.
Then what follows?
Cary accepts his proposal of marriage, but becomes distressed when her friends and college-age children get angry. Her daughter and son look down upon Ron and his friends, and both children reject their mother for this socially unacceptable arrangement.
Well… it’s understandable.
Eventually, bowing to this pressure, Cary breaks off the engagement.
When Ron has a life-threatening accident, however, Cary realizes how wrong she had been to allow other people’s opinions and superficial social conventions dictate her life choices.
I see… so both reunite, don’t they?
Sort of… In those days back in 1955, Cary must have received a lot of pressure and tons of prejudice, I suppose. In any case, it is a fascinating and thought-provoking romance. Diane, this film is your cup of tea.
I think I’ll book the DVD. But, Kato, where does Heaven come in?
Well… Ron has a life-threatening accident… So he wanders in Heaven while he’s recovering.
Well… you might as well wander in Heaven while watching the above movie. I paste here the full movie for you.
Wow! What fascinating movies they are!
I’d like to meet a guy like Ron.
What about you?
Rock Hudson was so handsome.
I wish I could meet someone like him in the near future.
Oh, well… there are some other interesting movies.
For example, look at Number 649 in the above list.
It is called “The Sawshank Redemption.”
Kato jotted down his comment as follows:
This is a 1994 epic American drama written and directed by Frank Darabont.
Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the film tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover despite his claims of innocence.
During his time at the prison, he befriends a fellow inmate, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, and finds himself protected by the guards after the warden begins using him in his money laundering operation.
I think this is one of the greatest movies, in which you could feel, as if in realty, that maintaining one’s feeling of self-worth is quite important even when placed in a hopeless position.
This film clearly shows how you can be free, even in prison, or unfree, even in freedom, based on one’s outlook on life.
The above comment sounds quite interesting, doesn’t it?
In any case, I hope Kato will write another interesting article soon.
So please come back to see me.
Have a nice day!
Bye bye …
If you’ve got some time,
Please read one of the following artciles:
■“With Your Tiger”
■“A Second World”
■“Stanley 125 Years”
■“Sushi @ the Globe”
■“Peace@Syria & Pentagon”
■“Happy New Year”
■“Merange & Sabina”
■“Beauty in Spa”
■“Love @ e-reading”
■“Love & Loyalty”
■“Amazing Two-legged Pooch”
■“Life with Music”
■“Biker Babe & Granny”
Hi, I’m June Adams.
I enjoyed watching the above “All That Heaven Allows”, too.
Another interesting movie is Number 652 in the above list, which is called “Séraphine.”
Kato jotted down his comment:
This is a 2008 French-Belgian film directed by Martin Provost.
It shows the life of Séraphine Louis (1864–1942), who is a French painter in the naïve style.
Self-taught, she is inspired by her religious faith and by stained-glass church windows and other religious art.
The intensity of her images, both in colour and in replicative designs, are sometimes interpreted as a reflection of her own psyche because she walks a tightrope between ecstasy and mental illness.
If Wilhelm Uhde (German art collector and noted art critic) hadn’t happened to come up with one of her paintings, she might have remained unnoticed, led a normal life and died as a poor yet religious housekeeper.
Prosperity must have upset her mental balance.
She is put into a lunatic asylum.
It is a sad yet thought-provoking film.
…sounds quite interesting, doesn’t it?
Why don’t you see it?
■『軽井沢タリアセン夫人 – 小百合物語』