Kashiwa mochi, Japanese sweet served on May 5th.

Guess what?

This is Kashiwa mochi. 

May 5th is Children's Day and a national holiday. The day was originally called Tango no Sekku and derived from China, but the contents has quite varied and the only similarity between Japan and China is to 
eat Zongzi, sweet rice cakes wrapped in a bamboo leaf.

In Japan, we celebrate the growth of children, especially boys on the day. Families having a or more sons puts up Koi-Nobori, a carp streamer for the celebration. It was originally a Japanese custom that started among samurai families in the Edo period. And they also display Kabuto, a military helmet as a symbol of strength and vitality. 

Kashiwa mochi is Japanese traditional sweet for the day. It is a rice cake with red bean paste inside wrapped in oak leaves, which are seen as a symbol of the prosperity of one's descendants.


Panda-shaped rice balls

I made a bento on weekdays for my daughter, as her school has no canteen. She is a small eater and can only eat a half bowl of rice at a meal. So I made 2 small panda-shaped rice balls with the amount of rice to let her enjoy a lunch time. The ears, eyes, nose, arms and legs are made of a sheet of laver, Nori.

I have some tools to make a lovely rice ball and a Kyaraben. Recently many Japanese mothers make it for their children and I think it is heartwarming. But some of them are too worried about its appearance. The most important is nutritionally balanced diet and processed food containing food addictives for the external appearance should be avoidable.