Some myths of Japanese culture

Many things are written about Japanese culture. So many things that I thought “I’ll not add more noise for this topic on the Internet” but I found a few things on some webpages, books, etc. that are a bit misleading, so here is my opinion.

I read in many place two things regarding presents: never give 4 things of something (the number 4 is a “bad luck” number for them) and I also read that wrapping the presents nicely is very important. They also say that presents might be initially rejected and that one must insist that the present be taken… and that it will never be opened in front of us. I’ve also read that presents are very important when travelling.

I bought 4 Cadbury’s chocolate eggs. Because I knew that a family that I stayed with like sweets… and because, when possible, I like to give as a present things that I also like. Wrapping? I didn’t have any wrapping, only the plastic bag of the supermarket.

I was on the plane on the way to Tokyo and I read “never give 4 items in your present. Always very well wrapped”. I thought, well, before arriving I’m already making mistakes!

When I was there I was told “give the presents now”. And I said “it’s 4! I have 4, I can’t give 4! I’ll eat one chocolate egg, or will cut the box in 2! and It’s not wrapped!”. They told me, assured me, promised me: they don’t care. It’s all ok. Perhaps very old people might care. They asked me which year the guide book is from.

I gave the present and guess what? – they opened it, in front of me.

So, don’t trust everything that you read on the internet regarding Japanese people or culture. I found a lot of information that seems a copy-paste but with time it has changed.

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