One famous tradition when celebrating the birth of a new baby calls for the handing out of cigars. Things are different in Japan... a specialty gifts company called Yoshimaya suggests you share your joy by giving family & friends personalized bags of rice which feature your new baby's face - and exactly match his or her weight.
Yoshimaya is in the business of baby celebration gifts but there's something just a bit creepy - for me at least - about the "rice bag baby" concept. I'm not saying it's wrong, just weird. Sort of like those custom dolls you could order; the ones that look like a miniature replica of yourself. But you don't eat those...
Basically what's involved here is, you place your order online with Yoshimaya. Do it just after your child is born, because you'll need to know the birth weight and date of birth.
As well, you'll need to send them a photo of the newborn's face which goes on the outside of the bag of rice. Then select other custom details such as trim color, an image of a stork or some other cute creature, how many Rice Bag Babies you'd like, and so on.
The so-called "dakigokochi" end up looking oddly like miniature Egyptian mummy sarcophagi... which partly explains the creepiness factor.
Additionally disturbing is what the recipients of your gift are supposed to do with it... are they expected to slit the bag, cook up the rice and invite you over to feast on it? If they don't eat the rice, isn't the entire concept sort of wasteful when people are rioting in the streets over high food prices?
Anyway, if you can figure out the complexities of Yoshimaya's Japanese website - and get over your freaked-out feelings - you can place your order.
The cost of each dakigokochi rice bag baby starts at 3500 yen ($32 or EUR 22) plus shipping. Imagine the look of, er, surprise on the new mummy's face when her Rice Bag Baby arrives! (via Springwise)