If you don’t eat all of your rice then when you’re sleeping your soul will leave your body and look for the rice cooker (laughs) and then you will get trapped in it or something like that (laughs).
The informant told me that her friend told her this belief when the informant was nineteen but that the belief is usually told to little kids when they do not want to eat their rice.
According to the informant she believes that this folk belief is told to kids by their parents so the kids will eat all of their rice and not be wasteful. She believes that the parents tell their kids this because they think scaring their kids will work. Although my informant heard about this saying from a friend her friend was told about this belief from her parents. The informant’s friend is Chinese born in the Philippines so the informant believes the belief exists among all Asians, although in different forms. She believes this because she was also told about a belief pertaining to not eating rice by another friend who is Asian as well. I asked the informant if her parents ever told her anything pertaining to something bad happening if she did not eat her rice and she said no, her parents just told her to eat her rice.
My informant is currently 20 years old and is a student at USC. She is of Asian descent but does not speak any other language besides English. She is very involved in the USC Nikkei Association which is an Asian club on campus.
The other belief
If you don’t eat your rice….then….they said something about worms like eating…eating your soul or something weird like that (laughs)
Analysis from the Collector
I enjoyed hearing about these beliefs because I have never heard any of them before. I agree with my informant that these beliefs are mainly told to little kids as an effort from their parents to get them to eat their rice. Not knowing many Asians myself, I would not be able to say whether these beliefs are common among all Asian groups like my informant believes. I think these are the type of beliefs that are taken very seriously when the person is young but are taken as being silly when the person grows and are just remembered as childhood folklore.