Inspired by “Dulcy, the Beautiful”, a comic strip in the British movie magazine Picture Show 1924. It’s not very funny but rather cute anyway, and supposedly written by silent star Constance Talmadge… Both Connie and her sister Norma were a bit dog-crazy.
Posts Tagged ‘mochi’
Poor Falco, he’s been busy non-stop for 48 hours, up in the mountains chased by renegade monks and harrassed by Communist girls, downtown servicing Fiats and wrangling smelly Anarchists, guarding Mayann’s honour and sweet-talking Father Pietro, and now he gets to hear this.
But there’s MOCHI.
Goldenbird readers may know that Mayann’s little B/W puppy Mochi is an Akita Inu. This dog breed of Japanese origin is very close to my heart. My family loves all Spitz-type breeds for their independence, sensitivity and so-called “primitive” traits, and we had the honour of calling the wonderful Akita lady Himitsu von Nobara-ken a member of our pack for almost 12 years. No surprise, then, that the welfare of dogs in general and Akitas in particular (as a large-sized breed with a strong protective instinct, always in the risk zone for abuse and neglect) is important to me.
Some time ago, I did a charity illustration for the benefit of the Akita Rescue Society of Florida, Inc. Note cards with this motif can be ordered from their website. But why Florida, of all places? The ARSF volunteer Jen Fone discovered my Mochi illustrations and approached me with this idea. Among many things, she has been teaching dog bite prevention with her loveable Akitas. (How many times haven’t I seen people approach cuddly-looking dogs carelessly, not realizing the clear warning signs that the animal communicates to its own protection? And how many times haven’t I made mistakes myself, and been kindly corrected by the dog? Yes, they are predators, but they cut us so much slack…) I’d like to sincerely thank Jen for providing me with this opportunity to give something back to the dogs that I love.
Apparently the Rabbit year will offer calm and quiet after the hectic Tiger year. All I know that it is my responsibility to make it so. Never mind everyone who claims that we Sheep (or Goats, which I personally prefer, because goats are cute and smart
Edit: According to Japanese mythology, rabbits live on the Moon and make the elixir of life. In my drawing, they are pounding mochi for New Year cakes. Nooo, not Mochi, but glutinous rice flour!
Kagami mochi (鏡餅, mirror rice-cake), is a traditional Japanese New Year decoration. A small mochi (glutinous rice ball) is placed on top of a big one (who is making a mess now), and crowned with a daidai (Japanese bitter orange). The presentation stand is magically protecting the household against fires. The folded paper sheets, gohei, are imitating the shape of lightning and are widely used in shinto rituals (blessings, sumo wrestling etc.). The second weekend in January, the mochi is broken and eaten – but not with a knife, since cutting symbolizes severing family ties. A hammer (or an Akita paw?!) is used to smash the cake’s hard crust.
And why a mirror?… I think it is a symbol for the contact between the deities and the human world, although I’m not sure. This is also the role of dogs in the myths of many cultures. (;_;)
More on dogs in the next post…
Where does Mayann’s puppy Mochi come from? Well, of course she has a backstory. But until it is revealed, we are going to look at some theories…
In February, a special festival called Inukko Matsuri is celebrated in Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture, Japan. Small dog figurines are displayed traditionally to ward off burglars, as well as large snow statues. (Some info and a longer blog post about the festival.)
What material are the small figurines made of? Well, you can guess… that magical glutinous rice stuff that the New Year cakes are made of. Mochi!
In previous posts we have discussed the origin of Mochi’s name (and possibly Mochi herself).
A less cute mythical origin would be the inugami legend. The inugami (dog-deity) is a kind of witches’ familiar created by torturing a dog to death, capturing its soul, which then attaches itself more or less obediently to its master (the inugami-mochi – not the same thing as the rice cake…).
I don’t want this to happen to any animal in my stories, but it is an interesting myth. Mochi’s name could be a pun, hinting that she is her own master. Beware the wrath of the inugami!
(all the illustrations in the previous posts were actually drawn one year ago – I’m lazy like that -_-)