COVID-19 has changed a life a lot in many ways. Holding your loved ones close becomes risky, particularly for the elderly or newborns. Travel is limited as well. So, the family can’t reunite as before and celebration of the birth of new life can only be done virtually.

It is pretty same everywhere on the world. But a Japanese rice shop (Kome no Zoto Yoshimiya rice shop) comes up with a brilliant idea to involve families (no matter how far) in the big moments of life. Naruo Ono — owner of the rice shop creates decorative rice bags in the exact birth weights of newborn babies so that their extended families can get the joy of holding a new arrival.

Rice baby sounds like a perfect idea for this special time. But the first rice baby was actually made 14 years ago when the Ono’s son was born. Ono did that for relatives who lived far away and couldn’t come and see him. And this idea was revived during the pandemic, when more than sheer distance prevented warm embraces.

A rice baby weighing seven pounds 11 ounces would cost ¥3,500 (about $32). There are also more ornate options that look like tiny swaddled babes. You can even print a photo of the baby on the bag so that grandparents and relatives far away can cradle and gaze upon their newest family member. Such sweet personalized gift!

As you can imagine, the rice baby (known as Dakigokochi) becomes very popular across Japan. And according to Ono: “People say they have a hard time opening them up and eating the rice.” I can totally understand that!

h/t: theguardian

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