punish the mochi
It may look like an innocent piece of sticky rice waiting to be consumed by an elderly person hoping to see at least one more birthday, but in reality this stuff is more dangerous than a harmless geisha eating a piece of fugu prepared by a blind chef who likes going to prison a lot.
For this sticky rice, better known in Japan as mochi and particularly popular as part of the new year celebrations, happily lodges itself in the throats of ageing diners, blocking their airways and leaving them feeling uncomfortable and/or dead.
Every new year, the newspapers report the number of mochi victims. This year was a good one - only two reported deaths (in Tokyo), although 11 were hospitalised.
Extreme caution must be exercised when eating mochi in the company of the elderly.
Ways to spot an elderly relative in trouble:
1. They stop talking and gesticulate a lot, even though you're not playing chirades.
2. They start turning blue.
3. They seem to be sleeping for longer than usual (like three days).
As a result of these unfortunate incidents, towns and villages across the country hold a Punish the Mochi festival where they beat the living daylights out of it in order to teach it a lesson.