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      英語世界
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      The Culture of Gift Giving in Japan
      發布時間:2017年11月30日     蔣威 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
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      The Culture of Gift Giving in Japan

      日本的禮物文化

       

      By Peter Van Buren

      /彼得·范布倫

       

      Gift giving in Japan is deeply rooted in tradition with gifts given not only for social occasions, but also for social obligations – gifts given when indebted to others, both family and business. The emphasis is on the act of giving rather than the gift itself. The value of the gift is of less importance than the presentation and thoughtfulness in which it is presented.

       

      贈禮扎根于日本傳統,不僅用于社交,還擔負著社會責任——家庭和職場中,受惠于他人時,都要送禮物。禮不在重,關鍵在送。贈禮方式以及由此體現的周到體貼比禮物本身的價值更有意義。

       

      General Guidelines

      一般贈禮原則

       

      1. Appropriateness

      禮物得體

       

      There are shelves of books in Japan on gift giving and especially on determining an appropriate gift. The best thing to do is ask for help – a Japanese coworker, business partner or, in a pinch, a salesperson at a nice department store. Too cheap and you look, well, cheap. Too expensive and it may embarrass the receiver and place a lot of stress on him/ her for the reciprocity requirement, as gifts in Japan are always exchanged, never given per se.

       

      日本關于贈禮的書籍琳瑯滿目,尤其是教人如何挑選一份體面的禮物。最好的辦法便是求助,可以問問日本同事、商業伙伴,實在不行,還可以問高級百貨商店的店員。禮物太便宜,顯得你過于小氣;太貴重,又可能讓收禮人感到尷尬,增加回禮的壓力,因為在日本,贈禮講究禮尚往來,其意義絕不只在贈禮本身。

       

      If the gift is tied to a holiday or event (such as a wedding) there are usually clear guidelines. Ask. If the gift is for a business relationship, the rules are a bit fuzzier, but a local food, wine from near your home, items from sports teams (especially if they have a Japanese player), golf balls, all are pretty safe bets. The receiver may not care much about sports and may never have been golfing in her life, but it is the gesture that really matters.

       

      倘若禮物與某個節日或活動有關(比如婚禮),贈禮原則往往就很清楚了。一個字:問!如果是因業務關系送禮物,條條框框就沒那么分明了,但地方美食、家鄉附近的葡萄酒、運動隊的紀念品(尤其是如果隊內有日本隊員)以及高爾夫球等準保萬無一失。收禮人或許不大關心體育,也可能從未打過高爾夫,但真正重要的是送禮物的那份心意。

       

      Some older Japanese will not be happy with gifts that come in fours, such as four boxes of tea. The Japanese word for the number four (shi) can be pronounced the same way as the word for death, and so old superstitions can come into play.


      一些年長的日本人不喜歡帶“四”的禮物,譬如四盒茶。日語中“四”和“死”的發音(shi)相同,因此舊時迷信便開始作怪了。

       

      Caution – some business situations can call for expensive gifts, such as the sealing of a deal. Get some advice is always the best idea. Someone on the Japanese side will be very happy to learn you are sorting out anything that might spoil the occasion in advance.

       

      注意:某些商務場合中需要送貴重禮物,比如為了達成一項交易。找人咨詢永遠是最佳辦法。讓日方某些合作伙伴了解你有心預先排除可能有損合作的因素,他們會非常開心。

       

      2. Wrapping

      包裝精美

       

      Gifts must be wrapped. Read it again, and then once more.

      禮物一定要包裝,重要的原則讀三遍!

       

      Unless you’re handing over flowers (ask the florist, as some colors and plants are used only for funerals), it must be wrapped, and wrapped correctly (colors are very important.) Buy from a large, classy department store, tell them it is a gift and describe the situation, and throw yourself on their mercy. It will work.

       

      除非送的是花(問問花店老板,有些花和顏色只有葬禮上才用),否則禮物一定要包裝,而且不能出錯(包裝的顏色非常重要)。去高端大氣的百貨商店買,跟店員說是拿來送人的,說明送禮物的場合,剩下的就交給他們吧,準沒錯。

       

      Gifts are rarely opened in front of the giver, to avoid embarrassment right then and there to either party. With more conservative and/or older Japanese, the gift will be received, thanked for, and then disappear from sight unopened.

       

      為避免彼此尷尬,絕少有人會當面拆禮。某些較為保守和/或年長的日本人,接了禮物,表示感謝后,就會把禮物原封不動地收起來。

       

      3. Reciprocity

      禮尚往來

       

      Reciprocity is a final key part of Japanese gift giving culture. With very, very few exceptions, a gift must always be reciprocated. Here again, the rules can be tricky; typically in business settings gifts of equal value and type are best to exchange. For weddings and funerals, the return gift is often more symbolic than anything else. For example, for some reason truly unknown, mourners at funerals were for a long time given a gift box of hand towels. Gifts of money are almost never reciprocated by giving money; it seems like you are offering some sort of refund.

       

      禮尚往來是日本禮物文化中最關鍵的一部分。除極少數情況外,否則是一定要回禮的?;囟Y的原則也讓人捉摸不透:通常情況下,商務場合中回贈禮物的價值和類型最好與所收禮物相等。而婚禮和葬禮上,回贈的禮物通常只是象征性的。譬如,不知出于什么原因,過去很長一段時間內,出席葬禮的人都會收到一盒手巾作為回禮。如果收到的禮物是錢,幾乎不會拿錢來回禮;因為這樣看起來就像在退款。

       

      Many times more symbolic gifts, especially on more casual occasion, are repaid with gift cards. It used to be that there were only cards for beer and books, but nowadays, as in the West, there is a gift card for anything. If you expect the relationship to be a long one, or if you gave something for a wedding and have a kid of your own that may marry, records of what things are exchanged are kept. It is polite to thank the giver when you meet again, and you want to not embarrass yourself by going too low on a future gift or too high. Regifting has been known to occur, and you never want to mess that up. Write it down; your Japanese friends do.

       

      很多時候,偏象征性的,尤其是非正式場合下收到的禮物,會以禮品卡來回禮。過去,只有用來換購啤酒和書的禮品卡,但如今,日本與西方一樣,任何東西都可以用禮品卡來兌換。如果想保持長期關系,或者有人結婚你送了禮,而你自己又有小孩可能要結婚,那么彼此送了什么東西都得記下來。與送你禮物的人再次見面時,出于禮貌,得向對方表示感謝。未來輪到自己送禮物時,不要送得太便宜或者太貴重,把自己弄得很尷尬。把收到的禮物再轉送出去的事曾發生過,沒人愿意在這上面出亂子。所以請記下來,你的日本朋友就是這么做的。

       

      4. Magic Phrases

      客套用語

       

      Even if you don’t speak Japanese, it will be seen as very polite to give some gift giving phrases a try. If you don’t speak Japanese, say them in English anyway.

       

      即便不懂日語,送出禮物時試著用日語說幾句客套話,也是一種非常禮貌的行為。實在不行,用英語說也可以。

       

      Tsumaranai mono desu ga is a key phrase. It literally means “this is a boring thing,” but is fully understood to mean that you are being humble, and expressing modesty. People say it no matter what the value involved, even if you are handing over an original Da Vinci.

       

      つまらないものですが就是一句客套話。其字面意思為“一點兒小意思”,但對方知道你只是在客氣。不管送的東西值多少錢,大家都會這么說,即使送的是一件達·芬奇的原作。

       

      However, in some corporate settings, honno o shirushi de gozai masu ga, this is a token of my appreciation, is used.

       

      在職場的某些場合,則會用ほんのお印でございますが,意為“只是聊表寸心”。

       

      And obviously, lots of thankyou’s are exchanged. With some older people, you can go multiple rounds of thank-you/you’re welcome until someone fades out.

       

      顯然,雙方會對彼此說大量謝辭。碰到某些年長的人,“謝謝您/不用謝”之類的話可能要說上數個回合,直到有人停下來。

       

      Remember, gifts are handed over and received with two hands. Before accepting a gift, especially for women, it is polite to refuse at least once or twice before accepting. The timing of presentation is important. It can be seen as rude to give a gift at the beginning of an interaction. This gesture will be viewed as rushing the relationship or meeting.

       

      謹記,呈禮和接禮時都得用雙手。尤其對女性來說,接禮前,出于禮貌,至少得推辭一兩次。呈禮的時機也很重要。剛一接觸就把禮物遞上去是一種不禮貌的行為,會讓人覺得是在急于套近乎或趕著要走。

       

      Standard Gift Situations

      常見贈禮場合

       

      Here are several gift giving occasions in Japan and a guide to the proper etiquettes and mannerisms for each of them.


      以下是幾個日本常見的贈禮場合以及各場合下的禮儀和行為規范指南。

       

      1. Omiyage

      紀念品

       

      If you take a trip while living in Japan, say, visiting Kyoto over a long weekend, you are expected to bring back to your colleagues, staff, friends, neighbors and the like omiyage, small souvenirs.

       

      比如你在日本居住期間去京都過了個長周末,回來時就得給同事、員工、朋友和鄰居等人帶點“お土産”(小紀念品)。

       

      In Japan, each prefecture has its very own local product that can be purchased as an omiyage present. Omiyage could be an edible or collectible item such as a traditional or local hand craft. The purpose is to bring back an item that is only available at the place that you travelled to or is specific to that place. Hopefully by giving the item, the recipient of the omiyage will have the opportunity to share an authentic experience from your trip.

       

      日本各縣都有自己的土特產,可當作紀念品買來送人。紀念品可以是食品,也可以是具有收藏價值的傳統或地方手工藝品。購買紀念品的目的在于,把旅游地獨有或有代表性的東西帶回去。通過贈送紀念品,收禮人有望從你的旅行中獲得一種真實的體驗。

       

      2. Ochugen and Oseibo

      中元歲暮禮

       

      Twice a year, in June and December, it is common for co-workers, friends, and relatives to exchange gifts. The unofficial gifting holidays are called Ochugen and Oseibo.

       

      在日本,每年的六月和十二月,同事、朋友和親戚間通常會互贈禮物。這兩個非官方的贈禮節日就叫作中元和歲暮。

       

      Ochugen falls around the 15th of July. It originated as an offering to families who had a death in the first half of the year and still takes place two weeks before Obon, the Japanese holiday for honoring the dead. Nowadays, gifts are given as a gesture of gratitude to the people who are close to them. Bosses, colleagues, parents and relatives are common recipients. Edible products can be considered as a great Ochugen. In general, the popular products that have been selected as the Ochugen are produced by the local factory or local production agency and can be delivered directly from the factory to the recipient of the Ochugen. The price for Ochugen might vary from a minimum of 2000¥ to 5000¥ and can go higher.

       

      中元節(お中元)在每年的715日左右,如今仍在盂蘭盆節的前兩周舉行。盂蘭盆節是一種祭拜逝者的日本節日。起初,中元禮是一種送給上半年喪親的家庭的祭品?,F如今,中元禮則用于向親近的人表示感謝,贈送對象通常包括老板、同事、父母和親戚。食品是一種不錯的中元禮。一般來說,廣受喜愛的中元禮都是本地工廠或產品代理商生產的,可直接從廠家寄到收禮人手中。中元禮的價格從最低的2000日元到5000日元不等,也可以再高一點。

       

      If an Ochugen is considered as a mid-year tradition, then the Oseibo is the year-end gift-giving tradition. The Oseibo gift giving period begins from 20th of December every year. Any edible product or beverage maybe used for an Oseibo, the only difference will be the Noshi. The characters of Oseibo in Kanji should be written at the top section of the Noshi that is being used for an Oseibo. Oseibo is usually given to people at the work place, and any other person who has had a significant influence for taking care of you during the year.

       

      如果說中元是年中贈禮傳統的話,那么歲暮便是年末贈禮傳統了。歲暮的贈禮日期從每年的1220日開始。任何食品或飲品都可以作歲暮禮,唯一的區別就是禮簽。日文“お歳暮”應寫在禮簽的頂部。歲暮禮通常送給同事或一年之中悉心關照你的任何其他人。

       

      Young people are abandoning the traditions of Ochugen and Oseibo in droves, so consider the age of the person you are considering sending things to.

       

      如今,大量年輕人正在丟掉中元歲暮贈送禮物的傳統,所以送禮物前得考慮一下對方的年紀。

       

      3. Otoshidama

      壓歲錢

       

      At the beginning of a newyear starting from the 1st until the 3rd of January, all adults in Japan will give a certain amount of money to the children or their younger ones as a gift. This gift-giving tradition is called Otoshidama, and is usually given whenever the elders visit friends or relatives’ houses with children. It should be noted here that giving coin is strictly unacceptable, only bank notes are allowed for Otoshidama. The bank note should be folded three times and then put it inside a special Otoshidama envelope that come in a wide variety of colourful and cute pictures.

       

      每年的11日至13日,所有日本成年人都會給小輩一些錢作為禮物。這種禮物傳統就叫作“お年玉”(給壓歲錢)。通常情況下,無論什么時候,只要大人拜訪有小孩的朋友或親戚,都會給壓歲錢。這里需要注意的是,千萬不能給硬幣,壓歲錢只能是紙幣。壓歲錢要折三次,然后放在一個專門的壓歲錢信封里,信封上印有各式色彩鮮艷、漂亮可愛的圖案。

       

      The minimum amount of money for Otoshidama should be 1000¥. It also depends on the age of the recipient, the eldest child generally receives the highest amount of money but nowadays all the children get the same amount of money for Otoshidama to avoid any issues between siblings. According to Kumon children research institute in Japan, the elementary school students in Japan could collect an average of up to 5000¥ while the junior high students and high school students could collect an average of 10000¥!!

       

      壓歲錢最少得有1000日元,但也取決于收禮人的年紀。年紀最大的小孩通常收到的錢也最多,但現如今,所有小孩收到的壓歲錢都一樣多,以避免兄弟姐妹間發生不快。據日本公文式兒童研究所稱,日本小學生平均每年的壓歲錢多達5000日元,而初中生和高中生則多達10000日元??!

       

      Gifts to Avoid

      贈禮禁忌

       

      Lilies, lotus blossoms, and camellias are associated with funerals. White flowers of any kind are gifts to be avoided. There is also a superstition that potted plants encourage sickness.

       

      百合花、蓮花和茶花都與葬禮有關。任何品種的白色花都是贈禮禁忌。還有一種迷信稱,送盆栽植物會讓人得病。

       

      Giving four or nine of anything is considered unlucky. This superstition seems to be less important nowadays.

       

      任何跟“四”或“九”有關的禮物都被認為不吉利。但如今這種迷信似乎不那么重要了。

       

      Red Christmas cards should be avoided, since funeral notices are customarily printed in this color.

       

      應避免送紅色的圣誕賀卡,因為按照日本習俗,訃告通常印在這種顏色的紙上。

       

      I am not saying that every single of us should follow all the rules and complex etiquette of the gift giving tradition in Japan. Your fellow Japanese friends might not really take it seriously but they might be impressed with your efforts to respect their culture and they will most likely appreciate your present even more.

       

      我并不是說我們每個人都要遵守日本贈禮傳統中的所有規則和繁瑣的禮儀規矩。你的日本朋友可能真的不在乎這些,但如果你能尊重他們的文化,可能會讓他們銘記在心,他們也會更加珍惜你送的禮物。

       

      (譯者曾獲第五屆“《英語世界》杯”翻譯大賽二等獎)

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