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Homechinese poemsThe Japanese Way of Gift-Presenting by Lin Wei~ 林巍《日本人的'送礼'》with English Translations

The Japanese Way of Gift-Presenting by Lin Wei~ 林巍《日本人的’送礼’》with English Translations

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The Japanese Way of Gift-Presenting
《日本人的’送礼’》

The Japanese love presenting gifts on various occasions, such as child bearing, birthday, marriage, visiting a patient, moving, festivals…the list goes on. “Miyage” written in Japanese as “gift”, referring to specialties in various locations. Presenting gifts partially reflects Japanese group consciousness, in the way affections can be assured, experience shared and good wishes conveyed.
日本人特别爱送礼,从生育、生日、结婚、探病、搬家、过节等等,几乎从未间断。日语中的“礼物”写作“土産”,即各地的特产。这从一个侧面反映了日本人的团体意识,以此来联络人际感情,分享体验,互表祝愿。
In Japanese gift presenting, the value of the gift is not as important as its time, the occasion and the ways of presenting it for they are carrying much weight of the presenter. Also, packing is much valued by the Japanese as showing respect to the recipient. In contrast, the Chinese probably regard the gift itself as more valuable.
日本人送礼物的意义不在于其价值,而在于其时间、场合和方式。而且,日本人很注重礼物的包装,因为这代表了对收礼人的尊敬。这与中国人不同,中国人更注重礼物本身的价值。
In Japan, in a farewell meeting, the Japanese host presented glamorous gifts to three of us. When we opened the gorgeous packing, only a plain handkerchief appeared, however, given the timing, occasion and packing, the gifts actually carried enough weight and generosity to the guests.
在日本时,一次分别之际,主人分别送了我们三位每人一份从包装上看是非常贵重的礼物,打开一看,原来是一块手绢。这一点也不表明他的小气,因为礼物是在此时此刻给的,而且已在包装上给与了我们足够的尊重。
Gift-presenting is normally accompanied by the Japanese way of depreciation—”It’s a mere trifle”, although in may be worth a lot in their minds. In some way, this is very much like the Chinese, but nothing like westerners, such as Australians. When we were in Australia, people gave us presents, and they didn’t mind revealing the values of the gifts and the time they spent on them, just to show their sincerity.
日本人在送礼物时,总不忘加上一句:“不是什么好东西”,哪怕心里觉得的确是好东西。这一点,倒很像中国人。我在澳大利亚时却完全不同,他们会把要送礼物的价值如实告诉你;如果是花费时间自做的,那更会把其中的周折讲出来,唯其如此,才显出对你的尊重。
Unlike Chinese, who will always present something in pairs, the Japanese prefer odd numbers. Nevertheless, there is something in common between Japanese and Chinese, such as avoiding the same character “梨”(li), which means “departing” in Chinese and “nothing” in Japanese respectively; “四”(si/shi)is homonymic to “死”(si/shi), literally means “death” both in Chinese and Japanese, and so on.
送礼的数目,日本人喜欢的是单数,这与中国人“成双成对”的文化又大不相同。但也有相同之处:中国人一般不送梨,因为其有“分离”之意;日语中的“梨”发音与“無し”相同,为“没有”之意。再有,“四”数在日本人的送礼中也是避忌的。
In short, the Japanese gift-presenting culture is deeply rooted in its unique soil, and distinguishingly different from both Chinese and western cultures.
总之,日本人的送礼文化有着其浓郁的特色;既有别于中国更不同于西方,而是其独特土壤的产物。

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