Mochi are rice cakes. Earlier this week Arteth and I tried some Japanese mochi: blocks of almost toffee-like rice that explode into, er, big gooey crispy rice things when heated in an oven. They were sweet despite being just rice. And almost completely unlike the mochi that we buy from Chinese supermarkets. Those are soft and sugary, and beans, oil and coconut feature heavily.
People in Japan traditionally <a href="http://www.metropolis.co.jp/tokyominifeaturestories/300/tokyomini3featurestoriesinc.htm">eats lots of mochi every New Year</a>, served in different ways to symbolise various things. I just covered mine in maple syrup.