This is x posted from my journal.|
A Japanese friend of mine recently got married. This was a total surprise to me; the first I heard about it was when she sent me a Christmas card and enclosed a photo of herself and her new husband. Actually, you know what? I'm going to post the photo, because there is something really oddly appealing and slightly absurd (in a good way) about her new husband. ( So go and look and then read the rest.Collapse )
So, anyway, I heard that she'd got married, and I hadn't sent her a gift, and she had sent us loads of lovely tacky Japanese stuff when we got married, so after some thought, I decided to send her some flowers, which was quite a thrill for me because it was a new way to use the internet for something that would have been much harder to do before it came along.
All well and good - the flowers arrived; I'd left it up to the Japanese florist to choose the exact arrangement, and she went for pink roses, which were highly suitable; I received an email from Yuko to thank me.
With an English friend, that would have been the end of it. You receive flowers; you express your thanks.
But I'd forgotten about the Japanese tradition that when you receive a present, you give one back. A parcel arrived in the post today, containing a bag, a purse, and a handkerchief. Now what? Am I meant to give something back again? Am I locked in a never-ending battle of the gifts? And is giving a present a major inconvenience in Japan, obligating the recipient?