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Japanese New Year brings mochi pounding to Burnaby, B.C.

The pounding of mochi, or sweet glutinous rice balls, is an ancient end-of-year Japanese tradition — and now Burnaby, B.C. residents are enjoying it too.

The pounding of mochi, or sweet glutinous rice balls, is an ancient end-of-year Japanese tradition

The pounding of mochi, or sweet glutinous rice balls, is an ancient end-of-year Japanese tradition — and now Burnaby, B.C. residents are enjoying it too.

Locals gathered on Tuesday at the city's Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre to take in the cultural experience and buy the rice balls in time for the New Year. 

To make the squishy, chewy balls, one person pounds a cake of sticky rice with a wooden mallet, while another turns the cake... and tries to keep their hands out of the way.

While eaten year round in Japan, mochi is especially popular around New Year's celebrations. Traditionally prepared in the mochitsuki ceremony, it is used in a special soup, ozoni, which is served in the morning on New Year's Day.

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