Trendy To Traditional: 5 Unique Baby Gifts From Japan
Light Up This Holiday Season With A Sushi Diaper Cake and Baby "Teething" Stone
We love Japanese products for their innovation and practicality — even when it comes to baby items. So, why not spread the love this holiday season with these five baby gifts?
Fortunately, a previous article on baby products has already (thank God!) shown us the kimono for babies and wet wipe warmer machines. However, there’s still a lot more in store when it comes to memorable and uniquely Japanese baby gifts for your family and friends in and outside of Japan.
Some gifts, like the diaper sushi cake, have been trending for a few years, while others are steadfast traditions in Japan. Ranging from cheap to luxury, here are five Japan-unique gifts to stay on up-and-up with baby fashion and products.
1. Trendy: Sushi Diaper Set
You’ve probably heard of the “diaper cake,” but Japan is taking that trend into fine dining with the diaper sushi cake or just diaper sushi. In Japanese, it’s referred to as “omutsu zushi,” or diaper sushi. Gaining popularity since 2012, it’s a stock of 10-cm by 6-cm diapers wrapped up as delicious-looking rolls and nigirizushi. Each comes with a diaper and one “household item.” For example, a tamago (egg) sushi is a yellow sponge and white diaper. We’re not exactly sure why you need your diapers like this, but then again, we’re not sure why you don’t. It makes for a cute and fun gift. Plus, the founding company even handcrafts the sets and ship overseas with an English website.
2. Cute: Totoro Diaper Cake
So, we have established that you definitely do need to buy a diaper cake gift, however, what if you’re looking for something a little cuter and less raw-fish-esque? Totoro, a favorite Japanese character from the anime “My Neighbor Totoro,” has its own themed diaper cake perfect for Studio Ghibli lovers and beyond. It’s also in a layer cake shape, and you can even embroider the child’s name on it.
3. Gadget-geared: Blanket Clips
Living in Japan reminds you of a ton of gadgets you never knew you needed until you get all-too used to them. Blanket clips are one of these items parents love. Used to keep baby covered in the crib, or to clip baby’s favorite blankee to the stroller, you can even buy them with the theme of your favorite character — many of them Japanese — like Hello Kitty and Anpanman. High-end baby stores such as Familiar or Mickey House sell more sophisticated clips (¥3,024-¥3,500), while you can find cheaper at baby stores such as Akachanhonpo or Babies “R” Us for several hundred yen.
Price: Various (From ¥700 to ¥3,500)
Buy at: Babies “R” Us, Familiar, Mickey House, Akachanhonpo stores or online
4. Traditional: Baby’s First Meal Ceremony Set
Take part in the Japanese tradition of “okuizome” or baby’s “first meal” ceremony. Even if your friends or family aren’t Japanese, it’s never too early to expose the young one to new cultures and traditions, especially one that offers good luck and the hope of a life full of food. For this tradition, it is essential to have certain foods and tableware. Dish sets vary by gender, but the meal is a kid-sized teishoku (set meal) with foods like umeboshi (pickled plum), shrimp and boiled fish.
The most interesting component of the meal: a stone. No, it’s not for eating, but the tradition is that along with the meal comes this “teething” stone that is said to help promote the growth of strong teeth. The actual ceremony doesn’t take place until about 100 days after birth, so there’s plenty of time to buy this gift even after the baby arrives.
5. For the Foodie: Character Baby Bento Box
Any person living in Japan will tell you that bento boxes — the traditional way of organizing food — are paramount to each stage of life. In younger years, kids bring their bento-box lunches to school, and when they grow up, they carry them on the train to work. Bentos are not only traditional but have been modernized to be compact, easy to use and practical. So, of course, they’re a great product for when baby gets a little older. Busy parents can pack a meal, snacks and drink to carry anywhere. You can buy it in various themes of Japanese characters so the kids can enjoy as they grow up.
The pictured Yokai Watch Super Lunch Box Set was inspired by the immensely popular video game characters and includes a lunch box, chopsticks, chopstick case, cup, water bottle and lunch bag. If that’s not your kind of character, however, drop by at any baby store in Japan or the baby floor in most department stores and you’ll find plenty of other kinds — from cute to elegant and everything in-between!
Price: ¥6,400 (Yokai Watch Super Lunch Box Set). Buy online.