Monday, February 14, 2011

It’s not who you are, it’s what you give

I realize that I've stopped the exciting buying a house series just when the tension was rising, please hold on a little longer, the upcoming episode with the lawyer is so great that I want to be able to do it full justice and write it properly.

Meanwhile, as we recently had a new family moving into the neighborhood who came around, introduced themselves and handed over a small gift. As you might have come to know from reading my blog or just knowing Japan in general, gifts are frequent and very important here in Japan . I also realized how closely me and Mrs. Sunshine associated the quality of the gifts with the people who gave them. As we moved into a new built little community and were one of the first people actually moving into our little house, quite a few families has come around and introduced themselves, each bringing a small gift.

When talking with Mrs. Sunshine recently about who lived in which house, we realized that we didn’t really remember faces and names that well, but very clearly remembered who had given us what and that was the hook for us to remember the family. "Oh, yeah, that was they who gave us those nice cookies, it was a good gift so they seemed really nice" or "wasn't it that family who gave us that really crappy towel set? They can’t have that much common sense" or the favorite, the family that gave us the exactly same thing that we ourselves gave out when we moved in "They seemed really nice and that they picked the same cake as us for gifts showed that they knew exactly what is suitable to give as a gift, they have excellent taste!".

Interestingly enough, it's seems like the old tradition of giving buckwheat noodles ("soba") have basically died out, so don't go around handing those out unless you're moving in to a geriatric ward.


Sarahf said...

My roommate was given a really girly towel set in return for attending a funeral. I totally judged the family in question, I mean, girly towels? For a funeral?

Chris said...

"the upcoming episode with the lawyer is so great that I want to be able to do it full justice and write it properly."

Lawyers...overpaid blood sucking leeches devoid of ethics and

I mean...I'm looking forward to the post about Lawyers.

aimlesswanderer said...

Ah, the old "more expensive = better" idea. I pity the people who gave you the crappiest gift, who will forever be known for their cruddy welcome gift, and will forever remain name unknown!

If the whole 'group mind' was functioning at peak efficiency, then everyone should have given you similar gifts. I guess the people in your neighbourhood are a bit 'out of synch'. This is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Sarahf - Oh yes, the towel... The staple of Japanese gift giving, at least for a funeral I can understand that they prefer to give a towel over chocolate, but still, overly girly ones doesn't sound like the best choice unless the mood was expected to be merry?

Chris - Haha, c'mon, US lawyers are a breed of their own, the one's in Europe and Japan aren't THAT bad at least

Aimless - Well, actually it should not be too expensive either, because that would put us in a position to have to give something expensive in return... So the balance really has to be managed delicately, worst would of course be something both expensive AND crappy

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