January 3, 2007

4 Japanese die choking on mochi rice cakes during New Year 2007

Just like the Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year with "Nian Gao", the Japanese celebrate the New Year with Mochi: a sticky rice cake made of glutinous rice that is pounded into paste and molded into shape.

Mochi is very sticky and somewhat tricky to eat. After each new year, it is reported in the Japanese media how many people die from choking on mochi. The victims are usually elderly.

For 2007, it's no different too.

TOKYO — Four men choked to death on Monday and Tuesday in Tokyo, Niigata and Ibaraki prefectures, and seven others in the capital became critically ill after choking on mochi rice cakes, a traditional New Year's food in Japan, police and firefighters said.

A 68-year-old man in Tokyo's Fuchu and a 76-year-old man in the capital's Sumida Ward died Tuesday after choking on the rice cakes, while a 74-year-old man in Ojiya, Niigata Prefecture, and an 80-year-old man in Chikusei, Ibaraki Prefecture, died likewise on Monday, they said. In Tokyo, a total of 16 people ranging in age from 65 to 91 were hospitalized due to choking on rice cakes on Monday and Tuesday, and two of them died and seven lost consciousness and were in a serious condition, the Tokyo Fire Department said.

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Ah Pek said...

then there was this guy in Taiwan who choked himself to death eating
"Tang Yuen" during the recent Winter Solstice featival.