2.In Japan, a Chef Makes Creative Cuisine from Organ Meat
3.Aquatic Affection: How a Scuba Diver Found a Good Friend Under the Sea
4.The Mystery of Rabbit Island
5.Your Kombucha Isn’t Actually Kombucha
6.A Spirited Journey to Kyoto’s Most Isolated Restaurant
7.Why Japan’s Businesspeople Stopped Wearing Suits and Ties
8.In Kyoto, This Master Swordsmith Pounds Iron Into Art
9.In Japan, Seniors Step Up to Bat
10.In Japan, This Artisan Has Been Making Kumano Brushes for 50 Years
11.Chalk of Champions
12.This Buddhist Monk Doubles as a Celebrity Makeup Artist
13.In Japan, Super-Size Sushi Is on the Menu
14.Fake Food, Real Art: Crafting Display Delicacies
15.Japan’s Post Box Under the Sea
16.Sumo Soup: Living Large With Chanko Nabe
17.The Wasabi You Eat Probably Isn’t Wasabi
18.The Chicken and the Egg: Mastering Japan’s Original Comfort Food
19.These Bento Boxes Are Too Cute to Eat (Almost)
20.Stranded in Japan, An Unforgettable Act of Kindness
21.Hip-Hop Dancing at Age 60
22.A Homemade Meal ... From a Vending Machine
23.Japan’s Radiant Delicacy
24.Takoyaki is Japan’s Perfect Late-Night Snack
25.Shalom Japan: Japanese and Jewish Cuisines Merge at this Brooklyn Restaurant
Watching food be prepared can be just as great as making it or eating it. To that end, may we present Mitsuo Nakatani and his culinary violence.
Let’s break it down. Nakatani makes mochi, a traditional Japanese dessert often eaten at New Year’s celebrations and other holidays. Mochi is made from a sticky, sweet rice called mochigome, which is then pounded into a paste so it can be molded and folded into a delicious handheld teat. It’s that pounding, though, that makes mochi different from our simple, Betty Crocker pour-and-bake birthday cakes or Christmas cookies. Nakatani absolutely whoops that mochigome paste into shape.
In the traditional method as he practices it, you gotta be fast, you gotta be precise and you gotta hit hard to get that chewy texture right. Oh, and you also gotta shout. The shouting is essential. It’s what creates a rhythm for the teamwork as one person slaps and shapes the mochi between the hits of other person’s mallet that break down the mochigome into a singular paste.
As Nakatani sees it, he’s no great master—despite the fact that he averages three hits a second—he’s just had a lot of practice doing what he loves. In his mind, anyone can become a mochi-maker, it just takes dedication and heart. The heart is like the shouting: essential. Making mochi is like a battle, Nakatani says, but it’s a battle for the good of everyone who’s ever had a bite of mochi made right and smiled. Just as we love watching food, Nakatani loves watching people eat it.
Nara, Nara Prefecture, JapanFull Map
200 videos | 637 min
14 videos | 23 min
8 videos | 16 min
5 videos | 14 min