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…