Friday, October 2, 2009

Getting Married in Japan Part 5 - I appreciate your gift so much that I want to give you a gift as thanks

As you probably have read in my previous post in this educational series of posts, there’s a lot of money circulating around in the system in conjunction with a wedding in Japan regardless of the type of ceremony, reception or such. It can happen that a friend of the family hears about the wedding and even though they are not close enough to be included in the official invitation, they still feel like they want to give some gift and congratulatory message. This is usually a smaller sum of cash (this can vary wildly, but around $100 USD is pretty normal I would think).

Ok, so you get a card and $100 USD cash from that former boss of your father whom you met when you were a kid, nice you might think, but it doesn’t really end there. To thank the person for the gift, you need to thank him/her with a gift of your own. This time cash is no good; it should be a physical gift and the general guideline is that the list price of the gift should be in the vicinity of 50% of the cash you received in the first place. Here you have a minor opportunity to save some money in case you can find something at a discount, the gift usually is some form of plate, glass or similar thing.

So now you got the cash gift and you spent basically half of it on getting a thank you gift to send back to the person and he/she in turn will send you a thank you card thanking you for the gift. Depending on the nature of the new thank you card you might need to consider sending a thank you postcard back to the person and pray that it ends there.

Broken down, the flow looks something like this, 4 active steps:
$100 USD cash gift received - $50 USD spend to purchase and send a physical gift back – Thank you card for the thank you gift is received – Thank you postcard or e-mail is sent to thank the person for the thank you card – END

I personally feel that if the flow could be simplified into these two active steps:
$50 USD cash gift received – Thank you card sent – END

...everyone would be happier in the end and save us all a lot of trouble and time, however keeping things simple is not always how the Japanese like to keep it...


lina said...

Why do anything simple when you can complicate it? :D

Anonymous said...

3: send him a 100 $ gift voucher of the best shop in his home area.(his wife will be your best friend next time you met)

4: send a snake, cat or little dog to his home. snake is better. it taste good with rice and korean food.

ohh and yeah. my tip. forget about money be lucky you will get without red numbers.

RMilner said...

My brother-in-law is now engaged in all but name to his girlfriend, and they are putting off the formal engagement and wedding for some months because it is too expensive and too much hassle.

aimlesswanderer said...

I read somewhere that in China, middle class couples put off weddings for years due to good ol "face", which stipulates that a fully furnished apartment among other things is necessary to actually get married.

I am glad I live in Australia - you can have as big or small a wedding as you want.

Rydangel said...

you could always do like some americans do, and shack up(live together like your married without actually being married) until your kids are old enough to be your bridesmaids and groomsmen. or be like my sister who has been engaged for the past 5 years with no signs of a wedding insight(no they aren't shacked up). XD
p.s. i know you already did the deed,congrats on surviving the wedding gauntlet.

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