Hinamatsuri [Japanese Girl’s Day]: Traditions, Clothes, and Mochi

by jenjenk on March 2, 2010

I love the cherry blossom season. We get it a little early in Los Angeles and since my parents are the only ones on the block who HAS a Sakura tree it’s not quite the same as what you’d see in DC or Japan.  I still love how beautiful and delicate our tree looks! More than just simple beauty, it also gives me the leaves for my sakura mochi.
Why are you people tormenting me in this get up??
I don’t know how many years my mom set up my Ohinasama display [the dolls you see in the background] and dressed me in a Kimono for Girl’s Day, but the one thing I do remember is the Sakura Mochi. My mom used to make sakura mochi once a year for Girl’s Day. That meant I had to stuff my chubby little face with as much mochi as I could handle on that ONE SINGLE DAY. I actually wasn’t chubby (despite appearances in these photos to the contrary) and had a dismally small appetite but on that one day every year…I was a total gamer.

oh, wait…you’re going to give me sakura mochi?? YESSSSSS!

Sometime after elementary school, my mom stopped making sakura mochi for me. Every year since then I’ve casually hinted in big, loud words, “MOM, MAKE ME SAKURA MOCHI…PLEASE” to no avail – hell, my birthday is literally within two weeks of Girl’s Day and she still won’t make it for me.
This year I mentioned to my mom that I was going to make sakura mochi and  she exclaims, “I want to make it, too!!” My momma didn’t raise no fool.  My mom wants to make some, then I’m going over to her house to learn how to make it from the one who gave me my first taste!

My mom offered to prepare the rice for the mochi so I offered to make the Anko.  My mom laughed out loud and I quickly realized the folly of my words. I looked over at my mom and said, “Geez.  That may have been a bad idea, huh?” She said, “well, I guess we’ll see…” [As you can see, my mom has total confidence in my mad skills]. I would’ve made the white kind, which actually goes better with sakura mochi but I didn’t have those kinds of beans.

My family is from the Okayama area of Japan…we’re country people. As such, we really don’t care for the pounded smooth, pretty mochi from the Tokyo area – I prefer the craggly rough rice textured mochi from the Kansai area, which just so happens to be the easier kind to make.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Manggy March 3, 2010 at 3:32 am

I love a traditional mochi! Happy hinamatsuri to you! (such a cute little girl :) I have to get on with "translating" that Japanese book of traditional mochi I bought… gulp.


Jen March 3, 2010 at 6:15 am

HAHAHA!!! so do i!!! i've got like 5 or 6 books!!

i think i'm going to have to start stalking Dosanko Debbie!


Fuji Mama March 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm

YOUR MOM HAS SAKURA RIGHT NOW?!?!?!?!? AND I'M MISSING THEM?!?!?!?!?!? AAAAAAAAAAAAH! Ok, what would we do without plastic wrap for things like sakura mochi and onigiri? Sheesh, we'd be upa creek without a paddle! I'm practically licking the screen right now…


Ravenous Couple March 5, 2010 at 4:29 am

the final product looks fanstastic..love how it's wrapped in the pickled leaves


The Food Librarian March 8, 2010 at 2:12 am

Jen, Great meeting you this weekend. I can't believe you made your own sakura mochi. Your mom rocks. My mom goes to Nigiya. – mary the food librarian


Jen March 8, 2010 at 5:32 am

FM: Right?? i'd have my hands glued together with rice! 😉

RC: thanks! although my mom pointed out to me that I wrapped it with the wrong side showing…

FL: Thank you so much! it's pretty easy and I *KNOW* you can make it! great meeting you & hope to see you again!!


The Active Foodie March 9, 2010 at 5:12 am

What a GREAT post, so cute to have mother and daughter working together! I also love the cherry blossom picture, but love the picture of you as a little girl so much more! I am so happy that I finally got a chance to meet you this past week, I look forward to many more encounters!


Paula - bell'alimento March 10, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Happy (belated) Hinnamatsuri Day to you! What a fantastic post! & such gorgeous fotos!


Erin March 12, 2010 at 9:17 pm

OMG Jenny!! ADORABLE lil' girl!!!


David Kayano March 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm

HA HA Jen … I remember that photo at the top .. I think I was there, If I recall correctly your mom had to keep holding you up from tipping over (see arm in photo) LOL …


Jen March 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm

oh NOOOOO! i thought it was there to stop me from escaping!! HAHAHAHAHA


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