Blackcabbit's World

Bit by bit, the Blackcabbit crafts its nest of DIY handmade art and illustrates a kingdom of doodle critters to beautify the world she lives in.

Baby Celebrations – the Japanese Way 4 (First Meal)

Our 100-day-old’s First Meal

Today, Baby is 100 days old! We had the Okuizome (お食い初め / “First Meal”) for him. Okuizome is a Japanese tradition that parents carry out on the 100th day after the birth of their child. (Some regions had theirs on the 120th day). By performing the ritual, they hope their child will always have good food in abundance and will never go hungry for the rest of his or her life.

My mother-in-law (MIL) single-handedly prepared a sumptuous meal for the little guy. MIL was so excited to celebrate her first grandson’s weaning ceremony, that she bought a beautiful Okuizome dining set specially meant for baby boys.

Close-up picture of the Okuizome set with illustration of Kabuto (Helmet).
As usual, designs varies between baby boys and girls.

On the menu (may differs slightly between regions):

  • Sekihan (赤飯 / red rice) – red beans with “sticky” rice (commonly used to make mochi). A popular dish for auspicious occasions.
  • Sumashi-Jiru (すまし汁 / Clear Soup); or Sui-mono (吸い物 / Japanese-style soup)
  • Tai (鯛 / Sea Bream) – shares the same homonym with Mede-TAI (Happy; Joyous; Auspicious), it is also a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Served with head and tail intact.
  • Ishi (石 / Stone). Yes, you’re reading right. “Biting” a smooth pebble is an act to ensure the growth of strong healthy teeth.

    An interesting note: Osaka uses Tako (Octopus), while some region uses Ume-boshi (梅干 / Dried Plum); Red-White Mochi (Japanese Rice Cake); or Kachiguri (勝栗 / Dried Chestnut).
  • Nimono (煮物 / Food cooked by boiling or stewing)
  • Kono-mono (香の物 / Pickled vegetables)

Though these delicious food were prepared specially for him, Baby DID NOT consumed any. Instead, Grandpa and Daddy played the important roles of pretending to feed Baby during the ceremony. And yes, Baby started wailing and demanding for his very important MILK MILK immediately after the ceremony.

I wonder what should I do with the stone. Hmm, rock painting? Any creative suggestion? ^_^?

RELATED LINK:

Baby Celebrations – the Japanese Way (Main Page)

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18 comments on “Baby Celebrations – the Japanese Way 4 (First Meal)

  1. Tracy
    April 18, 2014

    I’m interested in the Okuizome dining set that you received feom your MIL. Where can I purchase this? I have 3 uncles living in Japan, one in Hiroshima, Yokohama, and Hachioji Tokyo. Do you know any stores out there? Or better yet, is there a website I can order this from?

  2. Aaron
    February 1, 2014

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been using this as a guide to help me plan for my son’s upcoming 100 days celebrations!

    • blackcabbit
      February 1, 2014

      You are most welcome! May your son have a wonderful and blessed celebration!

  3. kumar
    January 3, 2014

    so how does a 100 day infant eat octopus?

    • blackcabbit
      January 3, 2014

      Though these delicious food were prepared specially for him, Baby DID NOT consumed any. Instead, Grandpa and Daddy played the important roles of pretending to feed Baby during the ceremony.

  4. Heidi
    January 5, 2013

    Is there a traditional gift for this occasion? We are going to one on Sunday and are not familiar w/ the custom.

    • blackcabbit
      January 6, 2013

      Dearest Heidi,
      Congrats to the baby whose ceremony that you attending. May it be a really meaningful and special one! ^_^Y

      As for your question about gifts… I’m sorry if I’m equally clueless. This is because in our case (in fact, most Japanese families), we celebrated our boy’s Okuizome in a private manner. We did not invite our relatives. It was a quiet celebration with just his grandparents, my husband, me and of course, the main star. So there was’t any gift, but only good food for everyone.

      I suppose it’s best to ask the family directly. Because even within Japan itself, different region may varies their celebration style. Other than well wishes, relatives either give presents or (more commonly) small gifts of money.

  5. redpoz
    July 12, 2012

    Hi, very interesting post and celebration!
    I just found it looking for some suggestions for a japanese friend who is going to attend this ceremony but forgot how it was for him when he was a baby…. funny.
    Anyway, thank you for the great description!

    • blackcabbit
      July 12, 2012

      Thanks for dropping by, Redpoz. Your friend will have amazing “elephant” memory if he can remember his own 100th-day celebration (giggle). Congrats to the baby whose ceremony that your friend’s attending. May it be a really meaningful and special one! ^_^Y

  6. Crakkerz
    July 11, 2011

    My brother and his wife recently celebrated their daughter’s 100-day celebration. They sent photos for us to forward around to family here in Canada. Unfortunately we didn’t know about this, and her family was a little insulted by the lack of a response.

    Is there anything we culturally ignorant can do after-the-fact to help repair this, and are their any resources we can use to learn about other significant milestone that may be coming in the future?

    Thanks!

    • blackcabbit
      July 11, 2011

      Dearest Crakkerz,
      For my family (in fact, most Japanese families), we celebrated our boy’s Okuizome in a private manner. In our case, we did not invite our relatives. It was a quiet celebration with just his grandparents, my husband, me and of course, the main star. Frankly, I’m puzzled as to the reaction of your brother’s wife & her family. Maybe it’s just a misunderstanding. If it is not too late (and if you have not done so), do give them a call, wish the little angel “Omedeto gozaimasu” (meaning congratulation). Thank them for sharing snapshots of the meaningful baby milestone (which is a big hint that you & your family in Canada hold great importance to them). Then, check with your brother if there is any present you can get for his little princess. Hopefully, that will clear the air (or sky) :P

      The next big event would be your niece’s Hatsu Tanjo (初誕生 / First Birthday). You can read more here: http://blackcabbit.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/first-birthday/
      However, do bear in mind that even within Japan itself, different region may varies their celebration style. Other than well wishes, relatives either give birthday presents or (more commonly) small gifts of money. It is best to directly ask your brother and your sister-in-law. That will show them that you are sincere in wanting to learn more about the culture. Also, check with them what gifts should you get for your niece (whether they prefer gift of money).

      Oh, another event is known as the Shichi-go-san:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shichi-Go-San

      Hmm, I really hopes all will turn out well. May your family in both Canada and Japan be blessed with happiness and close family bond. God Bless!

  7. Nadine
    May 18, 2011

    My Daughter in law pointed us to your site to explain the 100 day ceremony that she and my son held for baby Erika. I understand it better now. You explained it very clearly. Maybe the stones are like teething rings that babies in Western countries have. Once babies were given ivory teething rings or sticks so that as they gnawed on them them would not get splinters as would happen if they had wood, or bone or glass.
    From a proud new grandma

    • blackcabbit
      May 18, 2011

      Nadine, thanks for dropping by. So wonderful to know that your granddaughter had the same ceremony. Oh, the western teething ring is interesting and a great idea. The stone used here is just for show, so Baby did not gnaw at it. My husband held it by the chopstick and touched Baby’s mouth and then it was over. We then immediately removed it from his sight before he decided to play with it :P

  8. Anonymous
    September 21, 2010

    Have the date of his birth engraved on one and the date of the 100 day ceremony engraved on the other. Then give them to him when he is older, at an age when he will appreciate them.

    • blackcabbit
      September 21, 2010

      Wow, that’s a splendid idea! Thank you so much! ^_^b

  9. Angie
    June 18, 2010

    I am not sure what can you do with those 2 love “rocks”, but I can help eating all that delicious food. ^^

    • blackcabbit
      June 22, 2010

      Gee Thanks :O

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