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Japanese Gift Giving Customs

Oseibo and Ochugen

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In Japan, it's customary to give gifts periodically to certain people, such as co-workers, bosses, parents, relatives, teachers, and so on. These gifts are given to express gratitude. The end of year gifts are called o-seibo and the midsummer gifts are o-chugen. On each gift package, the giver put a thin paper called noshi, on which the word "o-seibo" or "o-chugen" is written.

O-seibo are usually sent from early to mid December, and it's good to be delivered by around December 20. Despite the timing, oseibo gifts are different from Christmas presents. O-chugen gifts are usually sent from early to mid July.

Gifts range widely in prices, but the average is about 3,000-5,000 yen per gift. The type and price of gifts depend on the relationship with the recipient. Popular items are condiments, beer, tea, canned food, fruits, desserts, gift certificates, and lots more. Department stores display many types gifts at the end of the year and in midsummer. Most people ask the store to deliver gifts to recipients. Online stores and convenience stores also carry many gifts for o-chugen and o-seibo. It's also common for people to bring their gifts to recipients' homes.

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