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oiwai limitations and regulations?!

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oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby da vinci » Wed 09.20.2006 8:19 pm

i will be very greatful if someone can help me with this situation. after i married my japanese wife, her family, but mostly her okasan began showering us with gifts. recently she gave my wife a substantial cash gift. i understand that bunka a little...my wife explained it this way...we give back 50% of every gift. BUT...she hasn't given anything back recently and especially to her mom. i just got a new job...a very big deal for me and our family...and now her mom wants to send me more oiwai!! i'm guilty for the oiwai that already has been given and i want to say...it's ok...that is enough...or something polite. would this be an insult? do i have to figure out the monitary value of every gift and ensure that i send something back with at least 50% value? i don't want to be a baka gaijin...seriously! thank you for anyone's help!
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RE: oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby Oyaji » Wed 09.20.2006 9:19 pm

First of all, welcome to the forums!

Second, my advice would be to just relax. Of course gift giving is relatively structured in Japan, but this sounds to me more like a mother wanting to do something for her daughter. My in-laws are always giving us vegetables and gifts, and they give our sons money any time they go anywhere, or do something of note. Of course we always bring back a gift whenever we go somewhere on a trip, and we take beer or something whenever we go over for dinner, but we really don't worry about percents, or how much we owe in return, and we've certainly never given them money.

Make sure and show your appreciation for her generosity, and send small gifts and souvenirs occasionally as well. I would think you could probably leave this mostly up to your wife's judgment -- that's what I do.
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RE: oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 09.21.2006 1:48 am

First, I completely agree with Oyaji.

Second of all, gifts from family (not relatives) do not generally apply to the 50% rule. My mother in law gives me vegetables, food, clothes and has offered to buy me half of a TV, and would probably be insulted if I tried to give half the value back to her. Show your appreciation, be part of the family, take them out for dinner (if they'll let you).

However, in the case of relatives and business relations, the 50% rule hold true in ALMOST all cases. For example, before my honeymoon I was given 1万 by my boss. In return, I bought him a bottle of Tokai in Hungary.

Anyhow, I:m off to work. Good luck!
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RE: oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby Mike Cash » Thu 09.21.2006 8:04 am

I'm envious.

My mother-in-law hits me up for a short-term loan of 20 or 30 thousand practically every month.
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RE: oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby keatonatron » Thu 09.21.2006 8:30 am

Mike Cash wrote:
I'm envious.

My mother-in-law hits me up for a short-term loan of 20 or 30 thousand practically every month.


I was gonna say, this guy's mother in law showers him with gifts and his wife doesn't make him give any of it back, and he's COMPLAINING?
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RE: oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby da vinci » Fri 09.22.2006 12:29 pm

that's funny...i really DON'T WANT TO BE A BAKA GAIJIN and disrespect japanese culture. in america...at least for me...a gift is a gift. but my Mother in law is single and the amount of money given is very large...i'm worried for her. i hear you and i'm not complaining...i want to be polite and respectful. buying small gifts is a great idea.
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RE: oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby the_haunted_boy » Fri 09.22.2006 1:53 pm

keatonatron wrote:

I was gonna say, this guy's mother in law showers him with gifts and his wife doesn't make him give any of it back, and he's COMPLAINING?


The way you said that is so funny, I loughed so louldy out loud.
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RE: oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby Mike Cash » Fri 09.22.2006 8:18 pm

da vinci wrote:
that's funny...i really DON'T WANT TO BE A BAKA GAIJIN and disrespect japanese culture. in america...at least for me...a gift is a gift. but my Mother in law is single and the amount of money given is very large...i'm worried for her. i hear you and i'm not complaining...i want to be polite and respectful. buying small gifts is a great idea.


I hope your wife appreciates that you are worrying more about her mother than she is.

The reason I love my mother-in-law is that she worries about me more than her daughter does.
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RE: oiwai limitations and regulations?!

Postby Oyaji » Mon 09.25.2006 3:03 am

This thread reminded me of an experience I had when I first came to Japan, and learned the hard way about the difficulties of trying to *respect* another person's culture.

I had only been in Japan for a few days when the young couple living next door invited me over for coffee. The wife had made a beautiful cake that looked absolutely delicious. I had been taught about the importance of 「遠慮」(えんりょ), so when she offered me a piece I turned it down, confident that she would offer again, at which time I would accept it. Much to my surprise, she immediately took the cake back to the kitchen, and we just drank coffee. :o :(

We became good friends, and sometime later we talked about it, and it turns out that they had heard that Americans are very straight, and that "yes" means "yes" and "no" means "no", so when I turned down the cake she was shocked, but assumed I meant it, so she took it away.

We had a good laugh.
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