Birthdays, Christmas, christenings and weddings: a whole lot of auspicious occasions to celebrate with our beloved ones…and of course spend money on, by purchasing, ordering, wrapping and decorating the right presents. Naturally, this whole shebang can cause enormous stress, and that is something they are already prone to in Japan, since bestowing gifts is the ultimate token of respect for one another in the Japanese society; the „administering” of gifts is regulated by strict rules. What counts as a good gift and who can get it? And what are the  most important occasions to buy gifts for in Japan? Let’s find out!

Presents every day?

Well, that might be an exaggeration, but it is not far from the truth: the Japanese give presents whenever there is a reason to do so. And reasons are many. In fact, they don’t even need an occasion: it is enough if you are invited to somebody’s house for dinner. You simply cannot turn up empty-handed, that would be the rudest thing. No matter who you are giving the gift to, it always has to be impersonal and practical; it should never be personal or suggesting intimacy with the person. What matters even more than the gift is the presentation of it; wrapping and decoration show that you really care. Interestingly, a cheaper gift that is nicely wrapped is held in higher esteem than an expensive one with a less attractive appearance. As the Japanese are a bit snobbish, it is a good trick to wrap up an inexpensive gift in the wrapping paper of a pricey department store, which you can get from street vendors!

When it comes to opening the presents…well, that’s the thing. There won’t be an unwrapping the gift in front of everybody else. They just don’t do it: it is considered impolite and potentially offensive to the bestower, just in case his or her gift isn’t the greatest one of all…so instead they carefully place them on the designated shelf or table and open it (them) when everybody’s gone.

Who gets what?

Basically everyone can get almost everything. Coffe, pasta, salmon, private jet, a nice pen, alcohol, pencil sharpener…the list is endless. Expressing gratitude by giving presents is also deeply rooted in Japanese traditions: they give gifts to doctors, teachers, post officers and other public administration workers to thank them for the good work they have been doing. This happens twice a year: the first one starts in July, and is called ochugen, the second one happens in December and goes by the name of oseibo. Retail business really thrives in these periods; the gift mania of Japanese people is a factor in economic recovery! It is also allowed to give money as a gift, but in this case it has to be completely disguised as part of another gift or hidden inside a nice envelope. Shabby old banknotes are rude to give as a present: it is best to exchange them at the bank and only bestow new ones. The most gifts are given at the beginning of the New Year, but it really goes on throughout the whole year, as it is packed with all sorts of traditional celebrations: Mother’s Day, then Father’s Day, the week of Autumn Equinox, the Day of the Girls, the Day of the Boys, the Day of Respect for the Elderly…plus family events! The Japanese also buy a gift to say „sorry” and it is also compulsory to bring back tons of souvenirs to everyone after a journey.

At Sushi Sei, we take care that our dishes are made at high standards and from excellent ingredients. Taste, texture and nutrients are balanced in our meals; whether you arrive alone or with your significant other, family or friends, we await you with a friendly and elegant atmosphere. Book a table now, or have our award-winning meals delivered to your home!