Brief asides


POSTED: Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Traditional Japanese treat worth the wait, and work

It's all in the timing.

As every participant who's ever swung a mochi mallet knows, the rhythm's the thing.

Get out of sync and whack! — it's contact with the stone cauldron rim. Or squish — the mochi-kneader's fingers get nicked.

But get in a good groove, and the pounding goes as smoothly as the silken mochi's finished product.

With New Year's just around the corner, mochi poundings provide an annual gathering for family, fellowship and good wishes, in the Japanese tradition.

And as it is with so many of Hawaii's traditions, good eats are front and center.

Whether dipped in shoyu, wrapped in nori or dolloped with peanut butter, the carefully-shaped mochi rounds seem to taste extra good this time of year.



When outnumbered, try education and cooperation

When the odds are nine versus 5,500, it's time to rethink doing business as usual.

So it is that the state Health Department is trying to tackle the Chinatown rat problem via education, not just with fines. It is holding an educational session today with Kekaulike Market's 22 vendors about the importance of maintaining rat-free conditions. A follow-up session is planned for next month.

With only nine health inspectors for Oahu's 5,500 food establishments, the idea is to enlist vendors' cooperation for rat control via education. It's a good start to try to attack the problem at the root, better than relying solely on back-end inspections.

But what about the odds of rats versus vendors? Well, we'll try not to dwell on that one.