Marie greeted us warmly and offered us tea. We immediately got to business to make the mochi and red bean paste so we would have enough time to sculpt. The white mochi was kept under a damp towel, and we only pulled out some when we wanted to color it. Kneading the colors into the mochi reminded me of working with play dough, although we used a piece of muslin between our hands and the mochi dough.

Your imagination is the limit when you’re ready to start sculpting. Marie showed us how to use a tool called a sankaku bou, which is a long narrow piece of wood with etched corners. It is used to imprint lines on the nerikiri. Before we left Japan, we sought out a kitchen supply store so we could bring one home with us.

Aaron made a pumpkin, and I made a very fat fish.

So proud of our first handcrafted nerikiri desserts!