We interrupt these divorce proceedings to bring you a Japan rant. Why? Because I can't be fucked writing about what is going on at the moment. It's too exhausting to live it, let alone hash it out with correct(ish) spelling and grammar. I'll say things are pretty tense but for the moment the papers are yet to be inked. Thank you for all your lovely comments, don't worry, if we turn out OK I won't hold the "Good work, you should have divorced the cock head ages ago" comments against you.
But back to the topic at hand... Simple things. Life is full of them. Giving a present is one of them. Yes, there are shades of gray with what to give and who to give it to, but in general, you give a present as a sign that you care, right?
WRONG! This is Japan, and the Japanese have a way of taking something simple, complicating the fuck out of it and then wrapping it up in a pretty little bow.
We got lots of presents when the baby was born, in many forms; money, clothes, toys and general baby-type things. I greatly appreciated every single one of them, said "Thank you" and thought about making little thank you cards with Bailey's face on them in a cute blue hue. But no, that's not how it works in Japan. If someone gives you a present, you have to give them something back, and it has to be about half what the present was worth.
What the fuck?? I don't give presents to get shit back! But MIL informed me this is the practice and the only way to go. Grandma also informed me that it's impossible to keep track of everything you get/give, so she gave me a little lined notebook to note who gave me what and the value. I kind of get why grand gestures aren't really appreciated here now though, like if someone made me a cake rather than buying it I would be really touched because I would know how much time and effort they had put in for me, but this must just fuck up the whole system because you can't put a value on time and effort I guess...
So I wrote down everything in the book and thought about what people might like as a 'thank-you-for-giving-me-a-pressent', present... See it's ridiculous every way you look at it!!! And I thought the kids at the school who gave me stuff might like an English book... The older ladies might like some cakes, the younger people some wine... And I actually put effort into thinking about what people might like, only to be thwarted by Japan's ridiculousness once again!!! Oh no, you don't get thoughtful gifts, you get fucking generic gift boxes with foul smelling crackers or dry cakes in them, THAT is the way it's done, silly silly gaijin girl and her crazy thinking!
This system baffles me, I'd rather not get fucking presents in the first place!!
The final straw was when I was so sick of all the rules that seemed to go with something as simple as getting a present for the birth of my baby, that I asked MIL to get the crappy yet appropriate gifts to give back to people, and I would fork out the cash as soon as possible. Of course I was informed that I was to wait at least a month, and I was so exasperated that I didn't ask why, maybe because you buy them all at the same time?? Who fucking knows.
There are SO many things that appear simple and are made complicated in Japan, this is only part 1, look forward to such gems as 'feeding a big-arse fish to a 100 day old,' 'Buddhism for non-Buddhists,' and many many more ridiculousness from Japan!
P.S. I know you want the dirty divorce goss, I will dish when I'm ready...