Now the pandemic has upended life as we know it. We cannot practice the traditions we have after giving birth like that first visit of the apo with grandparents if they do not live with you. It will be postponed to more than a year and counting because of the pandemic.
It’s the same story around the world, including Japan. So a company in the 2020 Olympics’ host country had an idea that if a loved one cannot meet or hold the family’s new baby anytime soon, rice bags may temporarily satiate relatives who are excited to to meet him in person.
In an article from The Guardian, couples in Japan are sending relatives and loved ones "rice bag babies" that have the image and WEIGHT of their newborn baby. The designs of the rice bag come in all shapes and sizes, and they can also be used as a birth announcement. You can see the range of their items here.
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The rice bag babies are sent to relatives who are too far to visit to the child and their family. These gifts have become handy during the pandemic, considering how traveling within Japan is limited due to the pandemic. And it’s practical, too!
In the same article, the owner of Yosimiya rice shop, Naruo Ono, says the rice bag baby was an idea born more than a decade ago.
“I first had the idea about 14 years ago when my son was born,” says Ono. “I was thinking about what I could do for relatives who lived far away and couldn’t come and see him. So we decided to make bags of rice that were the same weight and shape of the baby, so relatives could hold them and feel the cuteness.”
Ono says that he receives orders for the rice bag baby from different parts of Japan. A separate article from Reuters explains that in Japan, people give money or gifts during special occasions. When received, the recipient gives a “half-return” gift — meaning a gift that’s half the received amount.
“The rice bags have made perfect ‘half-return’ gifts. People say they have a hard time opening them up and eating the rice,” Ono says. (Uh, we totally get the difficulty of opening and cooking the rice.)
What do you think? Would you be open to doing the same idea? It is cute, practical, and more helpful than a social media announcement. But we don't think we will open and cook the rice though.