‘Edible’ plastic bag alternative could save Nara’s sacred deer

Homi Makoshita wants people to “give back” to Nara’s deer and comes up with this solution

This ‘edible’ plastic bag alternative could save Nara’s sacred deer

In Nara, a city in Japan, the centuries-old tradition of hunting a sacred deer has been made easier to carry out as a plastic “edible” bag.

Some of Japan’s culture-minded tourists may like to try it out this summer when for a limited time, the bags will be on sale. The bags that are a first for Japan have images of traditional deer along with modern insects inside, to match the carpets, statues and flower arrangements – although the crowns on the plastic are traditional.

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The cultural exchange to promote Nara’s art attracts tourists from around the world who visit the city to dine at the city’s multiple restaurants, especially three-star restaurants that are renowned for their fine Japanese cuisine.

Nara’s National Parks Association aims to protect the city’s national park, a scenic spot of woods, creeks and lakes along with a historic village known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.

The organisation’s president, Hidemori Mutiki, hopes to prevent people from using plastic bags to carry food.

“There are only those who want to eat dinner. The rest need not worry,” said Mutiki.

Makoshita has made bag designs before for Nara’s restaurants, and started selling the bags for food before people could get them. Now the designs will be available for anyone to have one made, after the first batch sold out.

As part of the partnership, chefs can dress the bags in their paintings at the restaurants, too. A “Jedoe” bike rack sold at Nara’s shops also celebrates the city’s art, with its natural environment juxtaposed with contemporary designs.

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