Tuesday, October 27, 2009


When you give some money and get some food in return does it mean that you are "shopping"? If so then yesterday my goal of not doing any food shopping for two weeks has already been broken. However in this case we didn't choose what food we were given and given the choice we wouldn't have bought what we were given - so I am thinking that perhaps it wasn't really shopping at all.
What it was was my husband going to a wake and then a funeral for the father of one of his co-workers. For those who don't know, Japan has this wonderful way of keeping the economy going by giving gifts to anyone who goes anywhere - including funerals! Of course in order to get these gifts you have to put some money in a pretty envelope and present it to the family. This time we got a packet of dried shitake mushrooms at the wake and some green tea and pretty envelopes to put more money in at the funeral. Not what I would have chosen, but I guess they will come in useful during our no-shopping fortnight.


  1. I say you're still in the race.

    And I'm interested in the funeral gifts. Have you had mushrooms before? I wonder if it's a regional thing? In Fukushima all I ever got was tea and nori. Very fancy nori. Here they are very cheap and we pay 1000 yen no matter how close the connection but get nothing. Zilch.

  2. Heather: Mushrooms are definately a regional thing here. We do get them occassionally, but green tea, coffee and sugar are the standard gifts. As much as try to stop the tradition here it is definately not going away fast. Because my husband ends up going to so many funerals etc. I would love it if it was only 1,000 yen each time with no return gifts... there is only so much green tea I can give away to foreign guests!