"Did you get the envelopes," my husband asked me first thing yesterday morning.
"There are on the table," I answered trying to decide between a yakisoba (fried buckwheat noodles) or pasta for Bailey's lunch.
"How many did you get?"
"Four- one for the wedding on Saturday, one for the wake tonight, one for your friend's new baby and one for our niece starting elementary school," I replied, choosing to go with a yakisoba and Japanese style fried chicken lunch.
"All right," Hubs shuffled them in his hands, "That ought to hold us for a while."
By far, money is the most popular gift in Japan. Like I mentioned above, money is given for weddings, the birth of a new baby, for starting school and even at funerals.
Our BIL's grandmother died this week and Hubs went to the wake last night while I stayed at home with a sick Sophie and tired Bailey. He took the envelope with the black decorations on the front and returned with a box of tea leaves and sake as his return gift. The funeral home also provided everyone with a small package of salt that you are supposed to through on yourself to cleanse your body.
On Saturday, we will take another, fancier envelope to a wedding and will get some type of return gift there as well. For our wedding reception here in Japan it was two large spaghetti/ curry bowls, two kinds of pasta and tea and sugar. I'll let you know what we get on Saturday.
I can't resist baby clothes or toys, so in addition to the money for our friend's new baby girl, I got her a small wrist rattle. It will go into the mail this weekend.
The money that goes into these envelopes must be new money; not creased or worn-looking. There is also etiquette involving the way the money is placed in the envelope and the amount. Hubs even has an etiquette book that he got to help him keep it all straight. If he can't keep it straight, is there any hope for me???