The Japanese people are known for their gift-giving abilities. They give summer and winter "special" gift boxes (of soap, oils, ham, fruit, beer and juice to name a few of the selections) to those people they want to say a special "thank you" or "I appreciate your kindness" or "you're a great teacher/boss, please accept this present as a total suck up to you".
When you move into a house or apartment, you are expected to give small gifts to your neighbors to introduce yourself and say "yoroshiku"...which is kind of like saying "please, be nice to me".
Weddings, births of babies and funerals are all situations where we give money...no flowers or presents...but cold cash....and in a week or two, there will be a "thank you" present delivered.
Even among my neighbors, I almost want to say "stop the madness!! Just take the damn cookies...I don't want anything in return!!!" But sure as anything, in a day or two, the container which contained the cookies I made and delivered, will be delivered back to me full of something...chocolates, candies, etc.
It just never stops. And I have found myself almost brain washed to behave the same...last week a bag of oranges were brought to the house by the lady next door and I sent the boys over later with some apples we had received....as a sort of payback!!! (I'm turning Japanese, oh yes, I'm turning Japanese, I really think so!" sing with me now!!!)
So, now...another gift giving situation is soon upon me...and one that , I may not like the whole situation, but I don't mind participating in. The "sayonara" gift.
Three very good friends are now in the process of moving back to the States. Though the three of them are all much younger than myself, and our lives are completely different...I have found myself drawn to them in a very fun and crazy way!! I have known one for a few years now...the other two are relatively new....but, I will miss them all oh so very much and am in total denial about accepting their inevitable departure.
Any time a friend leaves, I like to give them something that will help them to remember me and their time in Japan and to remember me!! :-D Over the years, I have picked out pieces of handmade pottery....or old kimonos....an obi or two (the belt for the kimono)...it really depends on the person.
Today...the boys and I went to one of our favorite shopping establishments (Mr. Max does a very good impersonation of a Wal-Mart or Target!!). As I was shopping around, I was drawn to something that I immediately recognized as THE PERFECT GIFT for the girls.....it was a bit whimsical so maybe it will keep me in their memory....AND it captures the whole Japanese "spirit" of life....on just one...simple....t-shirt....
Isn't this perfect!?!?!? I remember about 15 years ago, some friends and I had a contest to find the
most stupid best Japanese-English t-shirts. This one would have placed in the top 5!!!
I'm going back in a day or two to check sizes...the color selection was awesome!!! I think they are going to love having one!!!