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10th Aug 2021

Japanese parents sending bags of rice to relatives to hug in place of newborns

These are too cute…

Parents in Japan are sending bags of rice that match their newborn babies’ weight to relatives who can’t visit them due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The amount of rice in each bag equates to the baby’s birth weight and a picture of the baby’s face is printed on the front.

The bags come in a variety of designs, with some shaped like a blanket-wrapped baby so relatives can feel as though they’re hugging the baby they can’t yet meet as a result of the pandemic.

Prices depend on the size of the baby, with some businesses charging one yen a gram, meaning a 7.5-pound bag would cost around 3,500 yen (€27.03).

“I first had the idea about 14 years ago when my own son was born and I was thinking about what I could do for relatives who lived far away and couldn’t come and see him,” Naruo Ono, owner of Kome no Zoto Yoshimiya rice shop in Kitakyushu city, told the Guardian.

“So we decided to make bags of rice that were the same weight and shape as the baby, so relatives could hold them and feel the cuteness.”

Ono then said that she began getting orders from all over Japan. Now, the bags go beyond those representing newborn babies, and include wedding-themed celebration gifts for the parents of the couple to be wed.

“The bride and groom give them to the respective parents with their pictures on them from when they were babies as a way of showing appreciation for giving birth to them,” Ono explained.

“During the pandemic, the demand for them has really increased as people haven’t been able to travel to wedding ceremonies.”

What a rice way to feel the family love even in the distance caused by a pandemic! Yeah okay, we’ll see ourselves out…