Thursday 13 October 2011

a gift...

One of the things I still find odd in Japan is when you give someone a gift you will get one in return general worth a quarter to a third of the value of the gift that you gave. This goes for weddings, funerals, baby or any other type of gift. There is a whole industry that survives due to this custom. So, a while back I sent a doll to a friend for her new grandson, a couple of weeks later we get this, all beautifully wrapped and with the givers name printed on the front...

Take off the name paper and the wrapping paper (which I kept and made into a scroll for Ebi-kun) and you get to the box, also beautifully presented...

and inside? slices of cake, each individually packaged....and delicious!

As much as I appreciate the beautiful packaging I also find it extremely wasteful, I used the wrapping paper and then the box to make mini books but I suspect that most of it goes in the recycling bin. Yes, it gets recycled but wouldn't it be better if there wasn't anything to recycle? It is not only gifts that are over packaged, everyday supermarket items often have a bag within a bag and then everything individually packaged, something that I think companies should be looking to cut down on. How about where you are, are goods over packaged?


  1. I don't think ANYBODY over-packages quite like the Japanese. It seems to be an art form! (Or possibly a way to get me to eat fewer sweets?? If I have to open each individual cookie, I'll probably only have one. Or three. haha)

  2. I completely agree. After I go grocery shopping and put everything up my trash is overflowing. I did start getting paper bags instead of plastic and then I take them apart and reuse them as wrapping paper. It's something my grandma always did and I just realized how smart she is!

  3. Oh my goodness, I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and feel like I have to comment on :) Your writings of Japan just touch such a soft spot in my heart (I lived there for two years and have been back now for two). I also was driven a little crazy by the wastefulness of the packaging while we lived there but also completely enamored with the thought and care that went into packaging and gifts.

  4. Just discovered your blog today while searching for ways to make sandpaper letters! I love reading all that you have to say! Thank you for sharing! As for where I am from, I am doing great to get into the house without a thin, plastic grocery bag ripping.


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