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7 customs that Japanese people wish would just disappear

67 Comments
By Evie Lund, RocketNews24

Japan has a lot of unique customs, and not all of them make sense to newcomers. Eating fried chicken on Christmas Eve, anyone? How about the weird ritual of girls giving chocolate to guys on Valentine’s Day (do guys really like chocolate more than we girls do?).

But it turns out that there are plenty of customs that even Japanese people think are a waste of time.

A poll conducted by Yahoo! Japan asked 200 people in their 20s and 30s which Japanese societal customs they’d most like to see abolished. While we were expecting some of these, others kind of surprised us and got us marvelling over the fact it’s not just us foreigners who like to grump about Japan’s strict set of social rules.

Here’s the top seven worst offenders, and why they are so annoying.

1. Pouring sake for people senior to you in the company

Japan has a strictly hierarchical society, and those on the bottom rung of the ladder must kowtow to those above them – that’s just the way it’s done. At company drinking parties, you’re expected to keep your superior’s blood alcohol levels well topped up by attending to their glass and making sure it never runs empty. Here’s what some of the pollees had to say:

“If I constantly have to attend to someone’s glass, I can’t enjoy the party or concentrate on talking to anyone else.” – Male, 36

“Everyone has their own drinking pace, I can’t be expected to know theirs.” – Male, 37

2. Having to endure tedious “entertainment” during a drinking party

At drinking parties in Japan, it’s common to play silly drinking games or make up chants and songs, and pressure coworkers to down glasses of beer. Not surprisingly, many people find these antics childish and prefer to just de-stress from a long workday by having some drinks and conversation.

“Surely it’s enough to just eat and have a few drinks with everyone?” – Male, 37

“It’s stressful enough without being made to perform like a sozzled seal” – Male, 39 (we might have ad-libbed with “sozzled seal”.)

3. Giving chocolate to coworkers out of obligation

On Valentine’s Day in Japan, there’s two types of chocolate being given out: “honki” chocolate, which is the kind you give to someone you genuinely like or have affection for, and “giri” or obligation chocolate which you have to give to all of the men in your department. And we do mean ALL of them, since if you leave out Suzuki-san from the third floor for having halitosis and constantly looking down your blouse, you will bring shame upon his entire family and possibly find yourself bearing the brunt of some judgemental water-cooler gossip about what a stinge you are with your chocolatey treats. But what did the general public have to say?

“It’s just a waste of time” – Female, 31

“It’s a burden for the one who has to make it and for the people who have to fake enthusiasm about receiving it” – Female, 37

“It’s a pain having to return the favor on White Day” – Male, 32

4. Returning the favor after receiving gifts given to you on special occasions

When Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory" complained at Christmas that “you haven’t given me a gift; you’ve given me an obligation,” we reckon he didn’t even know the half of it since he’s never received a gift in Japan. Here, it’s customary to receive monetary gifts on special occasions like weddings, but it’s not really all that nice a gesture since you’re duty-bound to return the favour with a gift that costs exactly half the amount of money you received. Having to calculate this amount and find a cost-appropriate gift can be a real pain in the bum and sucks the fun out of getting free money. In fact, the whole thing seems like an exercise in time-wasting to us. Why not just give less money in the first place? The survey takers said:

“I’d rather just not get the money in the first place, since it’s so annoying trying to return the favour” – Male, 29

“It’s inconvenient for both the giver and the receiver” – Male, 37

5. Going to an afterparty after a drinking party

If it wasn’t bad enough that salaried workers in Japan have to spend their evenings drinking with the boss, there’s something called a “nijikai” which literally means second or after-party and is used to describe the (yes, mandatory, or at least heavily peer-pressured) process of going from the drinking party to a second bar or restaurant and carrying on the whole rigmarole for a few more hours. Needless to say, some people find this utterly pointless.

“Since we’ve already had one drinking get-together, why prolong it? Let those who want to go home bow out gracefully while the rest carry on” – Female, 36

“I’m usually done after the first one, I don’t want to carry on for the sake of a change of scenery” – Male, 34

6. Having to pay money when you attend a wedding

Wedding guests in Japan are usually expected to cough up about 10,000 yen to cover their attendance, and even more if you’re a close relative. Usually they get to stuff their face with good food and drink, though, and even receive a gift in return (see number 4). But many take issue with being invited to a wedding and then being asked to pay to be there.

“It’s like I’m being expected to pay my own entry fee!” – Female, 38

“It’s expensive and if you really want me to come, why do I have to pay you?” – Male, 33

7. Bringing back "omiyage" (souvenirs) for everyone in the office after a trip

In Japan, once you’ve inconvenienced everyone in your office (right down to the cleaning lady and the bloke who services the printers) by taking a week (if you’re lucky) to go on holiday, you must atone for your sins by bringing delicious souvenirs from wherever you’ve visited. And make sure you don’t forget creepy Suzuki-san from the third floor because… well, you remember point number 3, don’t you?

“It’s expensive to bring omiyage for everyone in the office” – Female, 38

“It sucks the fun out of my holiday having to buy it. And some people never take any holidays, so they never bring any omiyage – the whole system is unfair and unbalanced” – Male, 35

So there you have it, seven bothersome Japanese customs that even Japanese people wish didn’t exist. Personally, I love afterparties and omiyage, so I’d lobby to keep those two. The others, though? Meh.

What Japanese customs do you think should be done away with?

Source: Yahoo! Japan

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- How about some fish flavored gum – to boost your intelligence? -- “Business Nail” – the latest trend among young Japanese businessmen looking to get ahead -- Yes, Mountain Dew flavoured corn chips are a thing in Japan – and they taste…

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67 Comments
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I agree with eradicating all of those.

In addition:

1) The youngest person has to drive

2) Staying at work until the boss goes home

3) Always bearing a gift when visiting someone

16 ( +19 / -3 )

others kind of surprised us and got us marvelling over the fact it’s not just us foreigners who like to grump about Japan’s strict set of social rules.

Grumping about it is one thing. Sadly the 200, who were polled, will most likely give-in to these 7 customs throughout their lives.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Well.....grow a pair, and stop! There is no "need" to do any of these things, you do it by choice, purely by choice, like the master once said; "Do or do not".

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Omiyage = guilt gifts

7 ( +12 / -5 )

I agree with all of the above.

How about:

The new-hires having to set out the blue sheet to reserve a good spot for the annual ohanami party. Feeling guilty to even ASK to take a vacation longer than 1 day. Writing and sending useless end-of-the-year cards to people who don't care if you do or not.
12 ( +15 / -3 )

I want them all of the above scraped from the J thinking and custom! Truly a total pressure. Especially the money giving thingy during weddings..that's one reason why it's only one partner of the couple invited. It would be too much to invite both. So which brings down to the fact that they're only after money not the friendship celebrated together during such special occasion...,my opinion.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

10,000 for a wedding? In what part of Japan? In Hiroshima, 30,000 is customary. More if you're a close family member or their boss. It's insane.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Could probably make a longer list than this in a land where conformity to customs rules and independent thought and action is frowned upon.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

giving and receiving gifts mean a strong and warm relation and if the relation remains cold then gifts are meaningless.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Paying doctors under the table money when treating a family member.Big hospitals have more or less dropped it but private hospitals still do.An aunt had an operation 2 months ago and 200,000 yen was given to the doctor by her husband,who faked refused the first time,but said suimasen and took it the second.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Yes, get rid of all of them.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

10,000 for a wedding? In what part of Japan? In Hiroshima, 30,000 is customary. More if you're a close family member or their boss. It's insane.

Yeah, I don't know where they got that number. It's been 30,000 for every wedding I've ever been to, and I've been to a lot of weddings.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

10,000 for a wedding? In what part of Japan? In Hiroshima, 30,000 is customary. More if you're a close family member or their boss. It's insane

Heh this surprised me too. 30000 yen if you go alone. 50000 yen if you go as a couple.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Surprised the women didn't complain about going behind/after men all the time. Or being expected to be married by age 30 ... (is that still a thing?) Or the corporate happy-morning exercises/singing? That freaked me out the first day at work in Japan.

I can confirm that not all men like chocolate. Gummy candy over chocolate any day. Pretty much any other candy over chocolate.

I had to handle the corporate omiyage for a few trips. Definitely not as bad as living there, but still a hassle. I suspect there are small gift shops for acquaintances in Japan and that for large companies, they probably have corporate "supplies", making the shopping easier. Had a short list of people to bring gifts for the 2nd time and I'm positive I screwed it up. I tried and the effort seemed appreciated.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How about the o お? I know a co-worker who literally blew his back out bowing to our shift-boss a number of years ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While there are some complaints about the money system at weddings, I personally think it's a great system. Sure it costs you when you got a wedding, but when you get married, it's an immense help. It helps cover a significant portion of the reception, and allows for nicer weddings that most would be able to afford otherwise.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

A lot of the items on the list have something to do with parties, so just get rid of parties and problem solved.

The rest of the items have something to do with gift giving, so just don't give gifts - problem solved.

Here are a few customs I'd like to get rid of:

1) Taking shoes off at the genkan - It's time people started bring nature into the house.

2) Not sticking your chopsticks and making them stand upright in a bowl of rice - It's either that or place them on the table, and we know how clean these restaurant tables are.

3) Saying "itadakimasu" - At least not at a restaurant, because quite frankly, the deal is: I pay you money, you give me food.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

1) Taking shoes off at the genkan - It's time people started bring nature into the house.

I hope this one never goes away. This wasn't anything new for me when I came to Japan - it's been the rule in my household my entire life, and in some of the countries I lived.

2) Not sticking your chopsticks and making them stand upright in a bowl of rice - It's either that or place them on the table, and we know how clean these restaurant tables are.

Lay them across your plate or a bowl like the Japanese do. Or use a 箸置き (はしおき hashioki) - a chopstick rest, on which you put the tip of your chopsticks so that they aren't laid on the table. 3) Saying "itadakimasu" - At least not at a restaurant, because quite frankly, the deal is: I pay you money, you give me food.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Luckily... I'm a "foreigner", and can be excused for my intelligence... or wait... my ignorance.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

At the parties I go to people take it in turns with the drink pouring, so item 1 is nothing to get worked up about. The drinking games and tomfoolery are usually kept in check until the "second party", for which I no longer have the stamina, solving items 2 and 5.

Y30000 for a wedding is the going rate, but you do get a good feed and you don't have to spend time thinking about and buying a gift. I had to travel a long way to one wedding and they gave me most of the money back to cover the train fare.

I could do without the Valentines day / White day chocolate exchange. I'm sure the secretary has better things to spend her money on than buying me chocolates. These days the secretary gives me chocolates, I give them to my wife, then my wife buys the chocolates for White day to give to the secretary. I'm just the middleman.

The new year osechi ryori is something I wouldn't miss. Very expensive and mostly things I don't particularly like, at least in the form that they are served.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

People have to realize that they dont have to do things because everyone else does it. It's the collective way of thinking, the "group" mentality.

It will take a few generations but some of these things can change.

For example, Valentine's Day, where I work, there are quite a few men and women who don't like having to do this, but oddly enough the "older" staff, one's who never had Valentine's when they were growing up, are stubborn and want to continue it. However, the majority of the staff don't want it, (took an email survey) and it was decided to stop both Valentine's and White Day at work.

If people want to give to someone, they do it on their own, and there is a lot of pressure to ensure that it is done quietly and as secretly as possible as not to offend the "o'ba's" we work with.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Yeah all of those I think we could see less of

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Spending money helps spread the wealth. There are companies and shops that base their entire business on omiyage. If you can afford to travel, then you can afford some little omiyage. Nobody's saying you have to buy everyone gold bricks.

Being a cheapskate never really helps anyone.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Definitely grateful that I'm not obligated to celebrate valentines day. For the most part all the single Marines in my platoon make fun of all the married Marines. Sometimes a random Sergeant will try to sell flowers that the married guys can take home to their wives. All pretty low-key.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate all of these like everyone else. The easiest way to avoid them is to be upfront about them to your coworkers, I tell people that I hate endless gift returning and omiyage and most of them are totally ok with it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

sourpuss - spending money for the sake of keeping a business in operation doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is going to sound maybe too direct, but for most of these, if you don't want to do them...just don't. People may be surprised at first, but when it comes down to it, no one is forcing anyone to do any of these things.

At the same time, you should know how the game works...want that promotion? Consider a game of golf with your superiors..or going along with their request for another drink or two. Just a little extra kindnesses and/or butt kissing can go along way. Not saying go all out, but the boss is going to remember you first when a new slot opens up if you treated him to a beer after that golf game.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

1) Taking shoes off at the genkan - It's time people started bring nature into the house.

This isn't just a "custom." It's a great way to keep the floors of your home clean. I hope this never goes away.

2) Not sticking your chopsticks and making them stand upright in a bowl of rice - It's either that or place them on the table, and we know how clean these restaurant tables are.

This isn't an inconvenience. It's a cutural custom linked strongly to buddhist funeral rites. To stick your chopsticks into a bowl of food represents making an offering to the dead. Doing it intentionally and outside of the confines of an actual funeral is akin to dangling your legs over the edge of an open grave during a Christian funeral service; It's grossly rude and disrespectful.

3) Saying "itadakimasu" - At least not at a restaurant, because quite frankly, the deal is: I pay you money, you give me food.

Saying "itadakimasu" is not an obligatory thank you message for the person who prepared your food. It's a verbal expression of thanks and appreciation to the plant or animal that gave up its life to provide you nourishment. It's an idea based in Shinto beliefs, and religious overtones aside, a pretty good one, I'd say, considering how much people tend to take the environment for granted.

Otherwise, I think most, if not all, of the things on the list in the article are in the throes of change as we type. I've seen senior company types pour drinks for juniors on numerous occasions of late. Entertainment during the main party? Not usually, and if so, only towards the end, when most participants are, well, drunk. Makes sense. And having to stay for the afterparty? Lately, it's seems it's harder to get people to not wander home when you want to go out for a second round (Seriously, workers in Tokyo need to loosen up a bit). Meanwhile, "Giri choco" has all but disappeared in my workplace, and my wife's workplace (a major Japanese insururer) instituted a blanket ban on the the practice several years ago.

Times, they are a'changin'. But Omiyage is likely to never go away, particuarly since its practiced in some form or another across cultures and in most societies - People go an a trip, they bring back a little something for friends and family. Mind you, "tourist trap" is an English expression, not a Japanese one.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

normal rate for a hotel wedding is 20,000 Yen for the food, for individual guest. If you have an idea how expensive to have a wedding in japan then you understand the custom of giving wedding gift in the form of money to help out the bride and groom. After all they are your friends. Now if you wish not to attend, you can always say no. Most people having a wedding usually end up losing about 1 Million yen even after the gift money. You go and wish them happiness, if you feel obligated, refuse. I better be invited in wedding than a funeral.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Omiage: downgrade your vacation to afford the gifts, and spend most of your time at the destination searching for them.

A stupid, soul-destroying, planet-killing habit.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

normal rate for a hotel wedding is 20,000 Yen for the food, for individual guest. If you have an idea how expensive to have a wedding in japan then you understand the custom of giving wedding gift in the form of money to help out the bride and groom. After all they are your friends. Now if you wish not to attend, you can always say no. Most people having a wedding usually end up losing about 1 Million yen even after the gift money.

BS. If you can afford a big wedding, have a big wedding. If you can't, go to the registry office, file the papers and have a dinner out somewhere cheap to celebrate. Just like in western countries. There is no obligation in Japan to have an expensive ceremony.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

At the same time, you should know how the game works...want that promotion? Consider a game of golf with your superiors..or going along with their request for another drink or two. Just a little extra kindnesses and/or butt kissing can go along way. Not saying go all out, but the boss is going to remember you first when a new slot opens up if you treated him to a beer after that golf game.

Maybe that's why Japan lacks any meaningful or competent governance in politics or industry, the best ass-kisser often ends up running things, not the person with talent who would rather rely on is/her innate skills to get ahead.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The worst for society: the idea that working long hours equals being a good worker.

Seriously, any good manager with a remote concept of human psychology would encourage their staff to finish work, go home, recharge, and come back the next day ready for action. If a person can't get their work done on time on a regular basis then either; they are trying to do too much, or they are incompetent. In either case, a good manager should be able to deal with it. Similarly, a manager whose staff constantly needs to put in 14 hour days is an incompetent manager.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Being expected to work over-time when everything is already done and there isn't anything left to do for the rest of the day (or evening).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I only hope that Tabuchi on his number 3 and Jalapeno on everything else are just being silly and/or sarcastic...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These are a pretty small price to pay for living in a well-ordered, smooth-running society. It's good to maintain links, even through fairly meaningless rituals.

When I was hospitalised a while back with a broken shoulder, the first people to visit me (before my wife and kids!) were my next-door neighbours. It's good that people look out for each other, and I wonder how many people wishing these customs would disappear might miss them once they're gone....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The biggest rip-off for me as regards 'customs' is the buddhist style funeral related stuff. All those pointless ceremonies after the funeral itself (which granted also costs an arm and a leg) when the family of the deceased has to fork out for food, drink etc. not to mention paying the monk to come and chant a lot iof meaningless nonsense. My wife's family monk can't even chant properly because he smokes so much; he has to keep stopping to clear his throat. Then, he's the one that drinks the most at the party afterwards and still everyone thanks him when he leaves like he's some kind of god. He can barely stand up he's so drunk! It goes on and on for years with these ceremonies. I've basically stopped going now, much to my wife's distaste. Being the token gaijin at such family gatherings can also be tiresome.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Mechanical solidarity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Asakura Cowboy, I went through the same thing with both my grandparents. The way they make you do it over and over with the isshuuki, sankaiki, nanakaiki, and so on is such a racket. I wouldn't mind if the monks used that money for charity or something, but most live pretty extravagantly.

Another "custom" I learned about was giving doctors envelopes filled with cash before a loved one goes in for surgery. My mom explained that it was "please take good care of them" money. To be fair, I don't know how common this is, but my grandma's surgeon apparently took it without hesitation (for surgery he knew wouldn't save her no less).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wouldn't mind if the monks used that money for charity or something, but most live pretty extravagantly.

Not as far as I understand it. I don't have a lot of info on the matter, so I could be wrong, but I knew a priest a few years back, he had to work as a programmer on the side because he didn't make enough money through the temple to support his family. He said that's pretty common these days.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Strangerland, Was your friend a Buddhist priest or Shinto priest? I'm guessing Shinto, because I've also heard that a lot of Shinto priests have seconds jobs to make ends meet. Funerals are where the money is and almost all funerals in Japan are handled by Buddhist priests.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

normal rate for a hotel wedding is 20,000 Yen for the food, for individual guest

Actually no it's not. It TOTALLY depends upon the location. Here in Okinawa the common amount is 10,000 yen for guests, and up to 50,000 for close family or somewhere in between.

Recently a co-worker had a wedding, all the staff attended, asking around prior to the wedding about how much everyone was giving and the consensus was, 10,000 which is "normal" for here. In fact some elderly only give 5,000.

Again local custom, local as in location, dictates amount.

At a wedding in Tokyo I gave 50,000.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strangerland, Was your friend a Buddhist priest or Shinto priest?

Buddhist.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

NathalieB if you can't afford to pay don't attend a wedding. Your negative spirit takes out the joy of life. If you are a pincher enjoy but don't call people BS because they like to spend money. I usually give 30,000 yen, and yes I am a foreigner.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I thought that ¥10,000 was acceptable if you weren't all that close, and ¥30,000 & up for closer friends & family. Think about it - you get an invitation after a number of years of zero contact (in a lot of cases) and are expected to cough up ¥30,000?! Feels like you're funding their overpriced wedding. Japanese weddings mostly feel so "fake" urgh.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I totally enjoy when my girlfriend pours my tea weather in company or at home by ourselves. 2: I not drink 3:I work in the Hospitality industry and there is more females then male where ever I work. So that even itself out. 4: No into giving money away. 5: Don,t drink 6:Don,t do weddings. I even told my daughter and Girlfriend not to have a wedding, its a total waste of are hard earn money. Just get married legally.7:I only did this once with my girlfriend I didn,t realise what she was doing and That I miss a ball game while on holidays. Not on.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Actually this is not a bad idea is an infinite circle of favor someday someone will do the same to you, you supposed to look the good side of this!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

¥30,000 per person for a wedding up here. I know it well!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Think about it - you get an invitation after a number of years of zero contact (in a lot of cases) and are expected to cough up ¥30,000?! Feels like you're funding their overpriced wedding.

You are to some degree, but you also get a very nice expensive meal and a bunch of presents, and then an after present after the fact. The bride and groom do end up with a little extra after the fact, which helps take the edge of a really expensive wedding.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I do not go to weddings. I always have a business trip, although I do not do any business any more having more than enough cash for a lifetime of having fun. Surf was great this morning at 6am, but by 8 not so good.

Hand back gifts people give you or say is it ok if I donate this to charity? Word goes out fast and you do not get gifts any more. Too many slow learners here. It is just a different culture. Bend gals, bend!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Agree with getting rid of all of these, and so I basically do NONE of them, and agree with anything 'obligatory' and 'okaeshi' in general. I no longer send new year's cards, and usually reply only by email, by phone, or in person for those I receive (occasionally I'll send one back), don't give souvenirs unless there's a personal reason for doing so, and most certainly don't send out a bunch of cards to everyone to say I can't send cards to them because someone died. I don't send cards saying "It's the middle of summer, in case you didn't know!", nor give Oseibo or Chuugen.

I do, however, gift personal gifts, often things I've cooked or made, or bought in travel, for the aforementioned reason that there is something personal in it.

I especially hate, and its related to #2 and #5 the idea that EVERYTHING has to be organized and scheduled, and you can't just go out for drinks or go to someone's house without it being 'an event'. That's why I decline invitations for dinner for the most part, and very rarely go to enkais aside from a couple of bounenkais with co-workers. I have friends and acquaintances who always say, "I went for lunch with a couple of female friends, as we do every couple of months. We call ourselves the 'Danshi-yakyuu Maza's Sakura Circle'. Why the need to name your friends as some group or circle and have everything planned down to a T? Enkais are always literally set up like meetings, and most Japanese actually literally translate into "meeting" when talking about meeting groups of friends or co-workers for drinks, instead of 'party'. The reason I stopped going is because that's how they are set up -- never just drinks with friends but some kind of Q&A session where you have to rotate around and get asked all sorts of personal questions, watch someone try out their magic skills, are asked to sing songs, etc. For those who like it, all the power to them, but not me.

There are a number of other things I would like to see go, too, including giving gifts to all your neighbours when you move (the Western, or at least NAmerican tradition of neighbours welcoming YOU with gifts if you move makes a whole lot more sense -- ie. "welcome to the neighborhood"), although I can understand giving small tokens if construction or moving has caused inconvenience to those around you.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And, pull out an asthma cartridge when people want you to go drink like a fish with them...and do not accept at all if you are wearing a short skirt!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If you want co-workers to not expect or accept "giri" chocolate, then make "onigiri chcolate" it is just the same as normal onigiri with umeboshi except you dip the umeboshi in melted chocolate before wrapping the sticky rice and nori around it. I made it a few years ago and since then coworkers keep their distance on Valentine's day.

“honki” chocolate is white chocolate right?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Man, it was such a pain giving half back on money or gifts given for my wedding or other events. I have received plenty of gifts that I didn't need and had to go home to see how much I owed in return. I love it when the person says no need for a return gift.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In the early '80s I actually had a boss (Japanese) ask me how much I intended to give a student for her wedding gift. (We were both attending.) He said it wouldn't be right for me to give more than he had as the boss. To this day I still wish I had embellished my intentions a bit !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only one I really dislike is Valentine's chocolate. Talk about a completely manufactured "custom". Luckily my office ignores it.

I do like omiyage, it is annoying last minute making time before the shinkansen to rush and find something with the appropriate number of snacks inside...especially as we have his office, my office, and our church to buy for. But I like the custom. It's fun to get something edible from peoples' travels and I find favorites. Tokyo bananas and Hakata torimon are always welcome :)

Having been on the other side of the wedding money, I didn't think it was a bad system. It all depends on what kind of wedding you have/how much of a bridezilla you are, that decides how mendokusai it is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The fact that #1,4&6 are disliked so much goes to show how bad society has become and how little the youth respect their elders. I think these 3 points should very much stay and they do help to teach a lesson to the more selfish people in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The fact that #1,4&6 are disliked so much

it was an unscientific poll of only 200 people. We actually have no idea if or how disliked these are, as the poll is not a realistic sampling of Japanese society. It's just a fun distraction and a conversation piece.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I was surprised everybody hates giving money at wedding. I wouldn't be bothered 30000 yen is collected and then spent on honeymoon, new furniture or whatever my friend needs. Maybe I should think about giving a significant discount at my wedding.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Giving money during wedding is not just Japan. In NA, the couple prepares a list of gifts. Some people will buy those listed as a gift to the couple and some just give them money. In other part of Asia, giving money for a wedding is also quite common.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hehehe so what is the problem with that...it's the culture and custom of Japanese. Same as other countries... I know at times there are much pressure among the new generations of Japanese people about the old system and customs but that's how Japanese are. ;) that we gaijins should respect. But I am sure time will come when these new breed of Japanese will be like their western counterparts cuz they are now deeply influenced and copying if I may say so the customs and ways of western and european countries. IMHO, those old Japanese customs should not be deleted cuz that's how Japanese are differentiated from others in this planet. Call me old school but for me, that's Japanese identity and signature that sometimes we gaijins laugh about.

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I think that more of them are a sign of politeness that many people in this earth lack of.

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Yeah, I don't know where they got that number. It's been 30,000 for every wedding I've ever been to, and I've been to a lot of weddings.

Me too. Always a pleasure to see the happy bride and groom. But yes, 30,000 yen or more is too much

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@Smith: I loved when you wrote about sending a whole bunch of cards to say you are not sending cards because someone died. That is too funny. I do not even send those.

I do though always ask if someone insists on giving me a gift if I can give it to charity....unopened.

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In the usa...the brides parents pay for the wedding. In japan the invited guests pay for the wedding. No? Cool.

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In the usa...the brides parents pay for the wedding. In japan the invited guests pay for the wedding.

The money guests pay at weddings does not even come close to covering the whole wedding. I just takes off a bit of the bite.

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Omiyage is not something I mind so much, since it's a custom we have in Hawaii. We often go somewhere like Las Vegas and bring back treats as a nice addition to when we come over to friends back home to talk story. In Japan, we often exchange omiyage with some of our close neighbors. It helps since a couple of neighbors have nice big gardens and often give us a lot of fresh vegetables, but we don't have anything like that, so end up reciprocating with nice treats or souvenirs from our travels.

One custom that I do mind is hatsumode. I totally avoid going to go to a shrine or temple to pray on the 1st or 2nd day of January. Hate the fact of having to wait in a line for hours in the freezing cold. I end up doing the 'delayed version'; about two weeks later.

One custom that I absolutely love, is not having to tip at a restaurant, in a taxi, at a hotel, or a barber. That to me is one thing that is so awesome about Japan.

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