Time To Hug Your… Rice?

Of all the adaptations forced on us by the pandemic, I’ve found one that really takes the cake… er, prize.

Perhaps the worst part of the pandemic is the cutoff from human contact. From routine family visits to special events like weddings and graduations, we haven’t been able to get together. The worst is when the COVID victims die alone. Zoom calls simply aren’t a suitable substitute for a good hug.

So we’ve had to adapt as best we know how. In the case of welcoming a newborn into the world, those resourceful Japanese have come up with a novel solution — if you can’t hug a baby, hug a bag of rice.

The rice babies give long-distance relatives a chance to experience what it would be like to hold the newborn child. Photograph: pr

Yes, rice. Some parents are buying bags of rice with the baby’s picture on the front. The bags weigh the same as the child, and come in a number of designs. Some are even shaped like a baby wrapped in a blanket. The bags are then sent to relatives who are unable to visit.

It is an ingenious idea. But somehow I don’t think it will catch on in this country.

For more information, see “Rice, rice baby: Japanese parents send relatives rice to hug in lieu of newborns” (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/aug/08/rice-rice-baby-japanese-parents-send-relatives-rice-in-lieu-of-newborns? )

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