Saturday, August 16, 2008

Salon Ottawa Texturizer

Zoutouhin (gift) zôtôhin (cadeaux)

The gifts do not pleased the Japanese. You like them? Yes? Better, but the ordinary Japanese do not like them. But at all. The word
zôtôhin (赠答 品) is quite difficult to translate into French.赠 the first character means "a gift", the second 答 "reply", and last 品 "article". So that means gift items and answers. There is always a large radius of zôtôhin in department stores. This storm is the second Japanese Kanji : reply.
For what should one respond to a gift? For a gift. But what kind Gift? A Gift for the same price! So if you get someone a package of 2,000 yen Belgian chocolate, you need to make an assortment of cakes in the same price. Then, the gift giver leaves he gently on the package price in Japan? But no! it would be too rude! We need to research the price alone. But can I make him Belgian chocolate, because I know he loves? But no! it was he who gave you the chocolate, then you must necessarily choose something else! It happens with friends and family (brother, neighbors ...).
There is another code for gifts "seasons". In summer, people give gifts that are called ochûgen (お 中元) persons to whom they should for any reason to show them thanks. And in December, we give the gift oseibo (お 歳暮) in the other direction. It is quite possible that a clerk shall give a small gift to his boss as a ochûgen , and that it meets its a Louis Vuitton bag at the end of the year (it is not counterfeit, but the Japanese have officially forgotten u). Heaven, she must give him a gift as much next summer? Do not panic, the Japanese spend Christmas Eve in the towel, the counter is reset. Phew! (You can still see a strong resemblance to the primitive society of the Pacific Ocean studied by the anthropologist Marcel Mauss.)
Thus, gifts do not they like the Japanese. All gifts are a priori poisoned. As there was no concept of gifts to the West before, it generally uses the original English word "present" for the gifts that Westerners understand. So who do we give the "present"? Children by example. There are even Christmas gifts for them, but Japanese do not need to regret the spirit of Christmas, because Christmas was a pure marketing campaign from the beginning. Once adult, it's over, the presents! We must begin to read ulterior motives. It's sad, but true. A Japanese proverb says "Nothing is more expensive than free." Free always hides a nasty surprise in Japan. I add that gifts "collective" are the way to avoid trouble. If you want to give a gift "free" to someone, you buy it with someone else.
If you are resident in Japan, you have options. You can stay a stranger. You give gifts to the Japanese as you want. Do not worry, they will be glad, because you do that reside in Japan. The Japanese do not think you stand with a relationship like that they have with their compatriots. If you want to integrate well into Japanese society, you must be careful that you do. We must never forget to meet the gifts you've received, and not pass it on to someone who could understand you wrong. It is quite possible that your gift spoils the relationship. (He might reason "The gift that looks good may be a way to cut ties with me because I could not give him much.")
This is not just for gifts. For example, suppose you have kept the child of your neighbor during the day. He wants to pay you and you refuse. The neighbor may think you do not accept the money because you no longer want this service. When you move the money, you must reject it once and then accept it right away.
In any case, there are many Japanese who find these codes absurd. Like me.


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