Another custom is creating rice cakes (mochi). Boiled sticky rice (mochigome) is put into a wooden shallow bucket-like container and patted with water by one person while another person hits it with a large wooden mallet. Mashing the rice, it forms a sticky white dumpling. This is made before New Year's Day and eaten during the beginning of January.
Mochi is made into a New Year's decoration called kagami mochi, formed from two round cakes of mochi with a bitter orange (橙 daidai) placed on top. The name daidai is supposed to be auspicious since it means "several generations."
Because of mochi's extremely sticky texture, there is usually a small number of choking deaths around New Year in Japan, particularly amongst the elderly. The death toll is reported in newspapers in the days after New Year.
See also: Sending Flowers, Online Florist, Florist