Monday, February 9, 2009
"This is so exciting!"
There are certain aspects of Japanese culture that I have difficulties wrapping my head around and understanding what the deal is about. I'm talking about the Japanese fascination with wrapping paper and the elaborate wrappings that gifts are subjected to here. If you're a westerner like me, you probably see the wrapping as just an obstacle to tear through like a meat grinder to get to the actual gift hiding inside. However, in general, Japanese people love to admire the wrapping and often also saves the wrapping paper while commenting on how beautiful it is.
Now, wrapping presents is not one of my talents as people in my immediate vicinity are very well aware of and the rare times when I purchase a gift which I cannot have gift-wrapped for me at the shop usually end up pretty messy and something I have to profusely apologize for if the recepient happens to be Japanese.
Just recently I was walking towards the station with the always wonderful Ms. Sunshine and as we were passing by a crappy mom and pop like shop I never paid any attention to ever before, she cries out with excitement "Wow, this is one of those shops!" and pulls me inside it with her. The shop was dedicated to wrapping paper, paper bags and similar stuff, something which holds a minimal interest to me. As she was walking through the small cramped shop she exclaimed repeatedly "This is so exciting!" and once even followed by an enthusiastic "Aren't you excited?!" (thankfully she never gave me time to answer that one, but I assume that my complete lack of excitement was pretty plainly visible on my face).
I think the picture here very well illustrate how differently the two of us must've perceived the shop, it is clear that we saw very different things, to the right is how I imagine that she perceived the store and to the left is how my camera perceived it
I'm not against this excitement about wrapping paper and general obsession with gift wrapping here in Japan, but I do have severe difficulties getting in on the excitement, after all, the wrapping is just an obstacle to getting to the gift!