Look closely at this photograph and the handwritten text at the bottom.

  • What do you see?
  • What evidence in the photograph gives you clues about where this photograph may have been taken?
  • Does this photograph convey to you that the New Year holiday is coming?

The individuals in this photograph are making mochi while incarcerated at Gila River, Arizona. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made by steaming and pounding rice and then forming it into small round shapes, as seen in this photograph. Sticky in texture, it is a very traditional food made and eaten by Japanese families during the New Year holiday. Often families have large gatherings and work together all day making mochi. It is a custom that continues today in many Japanese and Japanese American families.