Hounen Matsuri: Mochi Nage
 


Consider this impatient mob.
You know what they want.
They want MOCHI.
Stale, tasteless, palm-sized rice cakes.

Yes, the time for the mochi nage, had come. In this event, a few people throw mochi, or rice cakes, from a higher area into a gathering of people below. It seemed that all the elderly people in Japan (and a few foolish foreigners, including myself and two of my friends) had gathered in that square and readied themselves. Prepared to throw, jump, and push people aside in a mad dash for one of these small cakes that wouldn't satisfy a starving Ethiopian. There were thousands of rice cakes in bagged baskets above us on walkways surrounding the square.


The festival participants and supervisors laughed softly to themselves in full knowlege of the pandemonium that would soon erupt. They sat on their perch as the mob gathered and a voice came over the loudspeaker urging all elderly, children, and all women to leave the square as they could be injured during the mochi nage.

 

The Nage began and the crowd surged to life! I tell you, I wasn't sure if we were going to make it out of there. My friend fell down and was nearly trampled by a small group of elderly Japanese scrambling for a rice cake!

 

And would you believe that I didn't even get a single cake?!? Not one. Those old Japanese people were way too much for me and my friends. Ruthless. After the nage was finished, the crowd mingled between the souvenir stalls before heading to the train station.

 

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