Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Birthday Secrets of the Far East

This image gives the impression of a typical happy birthday for a healthy one-year-old man child. Little did my nephew know . . .

. . . what these two cakes of pounded rice were for:

the (more or less) ancient Japanese ritual of the “mochi burden”.

Suddenly, the man child senses danger! “Unhand me!” he cries . . .

. . . but tradition bows to the whining of no baby, and the man child is pacified with strawberries from his mother’s hand. If he staggers one step and then falls under the one shou (1.8 litres) of rice cake, he will grow to be a sturdy youth.

Now that the rite is over, he is free to indulge in his presents . . .

. . . until Uncle Luke interferes.

The nephew has the last laugh, though, as he delves deep into his human nature and unleashes the destructive forces found therein.