The Sad Reason Japanese Parents Are Mailing Their Loved Ones Bags Of Rice

Japan has a long history associated with rice. Per Stanford, rice is considered to be a major part of the local diet and is found in numerous Japanese dishes. Here's an intriguing fact: In the past, rice was perceived to be a symbol of wealth in Japan and was even used as "hard currency" while trading. While it isn't perceived to be as valuable anymore, rice is as popular as ever and rice-specific dishes have found their way into many rituals and festivals in the country. 

Per The Guardian, rice has become a lot more special during the coronavirus pandemic. You see, many Japanese families are coping with uncertainty and long distance separation by expressing their love for their relatives through an old tradition: gifts in the form of rice. New parents are making sure their loved ones are a part of the celebrations by sending customized rice bags to their family members who are unable to come and visit them on account of the pandemic. It's a heartbreaking and sweet gesture, all at once.

Sending rice symbolizes this moving gesture

For many parents in Japan, it's upsetting that their family members cannot be with their newborn babies on account of coronavirus. Per The Guardian, parents are sending their loved ones customized bags of rice to ensure that they do not feel left out. These bags are special because the front of the gifts have adorable pictures of the newborn babies and some of the bags themselves are shaped like babies so that the recipient can hug them and feel like they are holding a baby in their arms. 

By the way, you can customize the gift. It's also possible to add as much rice as you need to ensure that a bag is the same as a baby's weight. Companies are charging one yen ($0.0091) for one gram of rice, so you'll be paying around 3,500 yen ($31.76) for a bag that weighs 3.5 kilograms. Unbelievable, but true.