View Full Version : Sleeping and Gifts. The Cultural Divide?
2004-03-09, 02:07 AM
I have two questions regarding japanese culture. I wan to know if this is indeed part of japanese culture or just my wife's "insane" controlling nature.
1. Should women always fall asleep before the men when going to bed/sleep? She gets pissed off that I can fall asleep before her. She's saying that in Japan the man always waits for the woman to go to sleep first..... My answer is "well, I'm not japanese" That didn't go over to well.
2. When we got married, her relatives, friends, etc... sent money as gifts. Not to us, but to her parents.... We've never seen any of it. Instead her parents spent all of it... I was told that they spent it on buying gifts for the people who gave us money, and that basically it is Japanese custom to use all the money you get to buy presents for the gift givers. I can understand using some of the money maybe, but all of it???
Is she just giving me a line about culture to protect her parents?
2004-03-09, 06:09 AM
1. Your wife has a strange idea of what is Japanese culture. Just ask any drunken businessman to let his wife fall asleep before he does.
2. Your wife's family has a VERY traditional idea of gift giving. When I got married, it was my wife and me who got the gifts. We, of course, bought gifts in return because it was traditional. All of it? No way! Ten or fifty percent. Being VERY traditional means spending all of it. (I assume you discussed this in advance with your wife before the wedding, but it doesn't sound like it. I also assume her parents paid for the whole wedding. That's traditional, too. In my case, my wife and I paid for the wedding 50-50, with a little bit of help from her parents, but more like gifts of furniture than monetary gifts.)
2004-03-09, 07:57 AM
> 1. Your wife has a strange idea of what is Japanese culture.
> Just ask any drunken businessman to let his wife fall asleep
> before he does.
I don't understand. As in The drunk businessman will start groping her if she falls asleep, or that when you are drunk, you are more likely to fall asleep.
> 2. Your wife's family has a VERY traditional idea of gift
> giving. All of it? No way! Ten or fifty percent. Being
> VERY traditional means spending all of it. (I assume you
> discussed this in advance with your wife before the wedding,
> but it doesn't sound like it. I also assume her parents paid
> for the whole wedding. That's traditional, too. In my case,
> my wife and I paid for the wedding 50-50, with a little bit of
> help from her parents, but more like gifts of furniture than
> monetary gifts.)
Actually we got married in the U.S. and that is why the money got sent to her parents as opposed to us. Her parents didn't spend a dime on the wedding... They are also spendthrifts, and in debt more or less... : ( I don't care about the money, but more in the principle of the thing. Basically I didn't expect anything from her side. I am then told that we got something like $5000. We go over there a year later, my wife asks for it and the mom says it's all gone. I don't say anything at that point b/c I'm a guest and they are my parents in law. The only reason I am bringing this up is that my wife wants me to get back a measley $250 I gave to a friend who was in financial straits. He even worked for me! I told her it wouldn't be right of me to ask for it back, since it was a gift, and we are not in trouble monetarily. She thinks otherwise, so I bring up the money from our wedding and she answers back with this story of japanese using all the money to buy gifts etc etc.... Would this apply to money for New Years too. I know she used to get money for new years... Would her parents forced her to use all that money to buy gifts? I can understand that maybe her family is traditional, but I doubt it as the older sister is a former hostess while still living at home. Would a truly traditional family let a daughter do that, even a headstrong one? I personally think the family is disfunctional, but maybe it is just cultural....
2004-03-09, 08:50 AM
My example of the drunken businessman follows this logic.
If your wife is right about tradition, and that men should not fall asleep before women, how is it that the many drunken businessmen who come home at 2am are allowed to fall asleep before the wives that they have awakened (and who often give them meals, even at that late hour)?
According to my wife, it doesn't matter if you got married in the USA or Japan. Extreme traditionalists hold to the principle that the parents receive the wedding money for the couple, and that they spend all of it on thank you presents.
Although I was just as shocked to learn this just now, I still have to ask... didn't you discuss this with your wife before the wedding? Sounds like you wife didn't even discuss it with her parents! If they are as spendthrifts as you say they are, perhaps they are merely holding a tradition in your face and hiding the fact that they used the money to pay for their own way out of debt.
2004-03-09, 09:33 AM
I agree with Glenski,
I have never heard of the thought that the man has to wait for the wife to fall asleep. My wife does not seem to care who falls asleep first (often she does first) She does however care if she falls alseep and I leave the futon to do somthing else and then come back.
The deal with the gift and wedding money. It is a custom to give gifts for the people who attend the wedding. All of the department stores make huge piles of moeny making wedding bags. My wife said that if we had a wedding party in Japan we would have to have bags that were of about 50 - 75% of the value of the expeceted wedding money gift. Which is to say that if someone brought us 30,000yen (which she said was normal) we should have about a 20,000 yen of goods in the wedding bag. I have seen wedding bags from Tiffany's and other brand stores that must have cost more like 50,000 - 100,000yen.
To our case, people sent us money or gave us money. (I do not know if anyone sent money to her parents, I suppose it is possible) We had our blessing (we registered our marriage in Japan) and wedding party in Canada and flew her family to Canada and paid for all of the wedding ourselves (my family help a lot with the admin of it as it was planned from Japan) Her family was no out of pocket at all except for maybe $100 spending money. We bought people that sent us money presents from Canada, and when we got back to Japan sent them. Given the exchange rate we sent presents at about the 10-20% of the value of the money sent and no one felt bad I think. We used the money to pay for our honeymoon.
2004-03-09, 09:44 AM
Very interesting post!
1. I never heard of the one where the husband must wait until okusan falls asleep first. I think that this would be a good question for the gaijinpot online reader survey. Glenski has a good point - what about the salaryman who comes home late three sheets to the wind? Does the wife expect him to wait for her to fall asleep first? Poor guy if he has to. Good question. So in my case, I'm the one who goes to bed first but then I am the one to get up first. So this means in winter anyway, I get to heat up the house, open the shutters, put out the garbage (which is a woman's job in Japan!!), fill up the kerosene fan heaters etc. etc. So take your pick..........
2. I often wonder if there are any hard and fast rules on the "oiwaikin" that is given at weddings. I've known of some cases where the children who are getting married, directly receive the gifts and then purchase the return gifts and I've known of some cases where the parents have received the gifts in their stead but then hand it over to the children with the understanding that they will purchase return gifts. And I've known of some cases where the parents have received it and kept it but used it all to purchase return gifts. And finally I know of one of two cases where the children have directly received the gifts but the parents spend their own money to purchase the return gifts.
Does anybody else have any input?
2004-03-09, 10:00 AM
1. never heard that one. and i've slept with a lot of j-chicks.
2. actually i had a similar experience. i married my j-wife in the US and we got loads of cash gifts that were sent to her parents (for various reasons - worked at my father-in-law's company, live in the sticks and never met us, etc. etc.). in our case, my in-laws were very helpful. they took care of the japanese tradition of returning half of the cash gift in the form of some other gift (goods or gift certificates), and sent us the remaining half.
BTW, the same thing happens when you have kids. when we had our shorty, though, my in-laws sent us all the money and paid for the 'return' gift themselves. pretty lucky...
2004-03-09, 10:38 AM
laterthanyou, betteryouthanme. That's a pretty interesting story you've got there. Especially number 1. Perhaps that's how her parents do things so she decided that that must be how it's done in Japan in general. Not to mention, it's also a dumb thing to try and implement...
"Are you asleep yet?"
Re the "I'm not Japanese" argument... maybe you could come back with "In the US, it's normal for the husband to recieve fellatio before bedtime" and when she complains, "but I'm not american" you can say "yes, but I am, and so is Mr Happy down there, which makes two versus one so get busy."
2. I hadn't heard that either. But whether it's cultural, or a poorly constructed excuse, it seems illogical, and ended up being a big handout. Maybe your wife thinks it's ok to help out the parents but not to help out a friend.
2004-03-09, 10:41 AM
I'd say you answer your own question here.
Her parents didn't spend a dime on the wedding... They are also spendthrifts, and in debt more or less... : ( I don't care about the money, but more in the principle of the thing.Essentially their up to their eyeballs in debt and thus took all of your gift money. You're right it's the "principle of the thing."
I can't think of any cultural excuse for stealing money from your familly.
"I wan to know if this is indeed part of japanese culture or just my wife's "insane" controlling nature."
Japanese women often play the nice docile creature part during the courtship only to turn into "control freaks" once you marry them.
However, there are always warning signs.
Irrational behaviour. Bizzare attemps to make rules like the one you decribe.
I whiny childish nature.
Fear of work of any sort but a propensity to spend heavily.
Little concept of reality.
Good to sort these issues out before marriage.
She is having you on with that sleeping thing.
My Japanese partner's parents are very traditional. The wife
a) cannot eat before he husband eats
b) is not allowed to take a bath before her husband does
c) may not go to bed before her husband does.
All the above is irrespective of what time her husband comes home - and yes, he does stay out until 3 am playing mah jong sometimes and she still has to wait up for him, or else he gets mad.
No way is that sleeping thing true.
2004-03-09, 12:05 PM
Ah the made-up "rule", curse of the cross-cultural marriage. I have never heard of the sleeping thing either, and my wife claims it is rubbish. Then again, this is the same woman who once tried to convince me that past sexual history must never be mentioned in a Japanese relationship. Anyone heard of that one?
2004-03-09, 01:28 PM
Worst case scenerio: The money thing was a buncha bs and her parents are using the culture thing as a scape goat justifying snaking your money to themselves by saying "we let our wonderful daughter marry him so we deserve this."
& Your wife made up the "ladies sleeping first rule" because she was raised thinking: It's ok to be selfish and lie as long as I get the benefit of the dishonesty.
Don't worry anyone with that low of integrity would've done it whether you're a foreigner or a national. To go even deeper, it's not really their/her fault. It's just the way they were treated as children and grew up thinking it's ok to do the same thing.
Best case scenerio: They used the money for what they said they did and follow strict strict rules regarding culture. Because "THAT is the Japanese way!"
Your wife made up the "ladies sleeping first rule" because you snore.
2004-03-09, 02:03 PM
I'm marred to a J.woman, I must be one of the lucky ones, dad speaks good English, brother speaks, communicatable English, mum in law understands but I told her don't speak English to me, I want to learn Japanese, if only slowly..
The wedding party, my parents paid 50% and the in laws paid 50% we asked a minimum amount of money to come to the party, we had gifts bought cheaply etc.
We have had money gifts from people and have given back a percentage. Money came from other realatives but we gave back to the in laws, no arguments. In laws are reasonably well off...we live at home with the freedom of the house, no worries.
It's worked out well for us, have savings and now going to build a house on the familys land..
As for sleeping, what a load of c....I sleep when I want to and she sleeps when she wants to.
2004-03-09, 04:57 PM
When we first started dating my wife said the same thing. Not to talk about sexual past. I think it is just shyness, (because when the women get together they talk about it all in very graphic detail) There is that idea that Japanese girls the "first time" are not supposed to know too much about sex. They are still supposed to be pure? Or just supposed to seem shy? Either way after a while they loose it I think.
2004-03-09, 05:33 PM
With all due respect, you have married a woman who is clearly insane!!
2004-03-09, 10:48 PM
Marriage in Japan sure can be expensive. My niece just had her hina matsuri (\10 000), my nephew is starting elementary school next month (\10 000) and my sister-in-law is moving to a new house (\50 000 and help with cleaning). White Day is also this week, so there's another \5000 in giri choco for the in-laws. Just hope my wife's cousin doesn't get married this year...
2004-03-10, 09:26 AM
I have a theory/opinion on this one.
My wife makes up stories to suit herself or the situation and she quite often does a complete backflip and winds up contradicting herself.Whenever I point this out to her she clams up and its conversation over.I feel it could be a trait of Japanese women, possibly.
2004-03-10, 01:55 PM
The problem with my J wife is not about who goes to sleep first but about sleeping in. Why is it that Japanese ladies have to sleep in to at least mid-afternoon or later on their days off? Dragging her out of bed to enjoy a day out in the sunshine is a huge hassel. And it is not that she has overly physical work to do either.
This was also my experience with past J GFs and on asking the question to friends and work mates about sleeping in.
Life is too short, why waste it sleeping!!!
won't get no sympathy from me. i love sleeping.
cleans out all of the detritus one has gained throughout the day... a "reboot" if one will...
"I'm marred to a J.woman, I must be one of the lucky ones, dad speaks good English, brother speaks, communicatable English, mum in law understands but I told her don't speak English to me, I want to learn Japanese, if only slowly.."
not too lucky, they can't get a brother no money order... wasted my time...
Riktam de Voil
2004-03-14, 12:46 AM
Why do so many couples get married and then discuss their money values? Seems like romnace dulls the brain to reality of impact of money and how you think it should be spent until already too late!
I am not married but strikes me that money must be one of single biggest issues which cause strife, yet couples overlook facing up to its ugly face until very late stage in their relationship.
What do you think? is it just my perspective or are many couples naive about looking at their values about money early enough?
P.S. glad i never hooked up with a j. wife- sounds and looks tough!
2004-03-16, 12:11 AM
> What do you think? is it just my perspective or are many
> couples naive about looking at their values about money early
> P.S. glad i never hooked up with a j. wife- sounds and looks
Mine changed! She didn't have a care in the world as far as money was concerned until we got married..... It used to be what's mine is mine what's your's is your's.... When we got married it started out as what's mine is our's and what's your's is our's. Now it's whats MIne is mine and whats your's is mine too. It was definetly gradual, like the pigs in animal farm..... I'm the horse. : ) Soon I'll be sold for glue...
Has anyone else had their wife go 180 on them....?
She used to be so demure.... She still is.....in public.
"haha you are so funny"
Back inside that day "What you said was very embarrasing and stupid!"
I guess I really am a dumb american. : )
Post Edited (03-16-04 03:07)
2004-03-16, 01:12 AM
"I guess I really am a dumb american. : )"
Nah, you just got suckered into that myth that many people believe where Japanese women are supposed to be all meek and mild. That's true only so long as you don't step out of line, and when you do, miss demure opens up a can of whupp-___ on you.
I actually started to ask my wife about the sleeping thing (never heard of it) and about the money but before I could get an answer, my trouble radar started giving me a warning and it was time to talk about dinner. Anyway, I've since realised that something went on at the time that I got married, and that we did give back some of the present money, but I don't know exactly how much and I'm just going to leave it be. I don't fancy sleeping on the balcony.
2004-03-16, 03:17 AM
That is rather funny. I was really ignorant and young when we got married... If I was aware of all the inequality between japanese and non japanese legal wise in japan as well as many other cultural differences, I would have thought about marriage quite a bit more... Where were you gaijinpot when I needed you? : ) The forums can be quite an eye opener.
2004-03-16, 10:12 AM
"I would have thought about marriage quite a bit more... "
I did actually have a fair idea about what I was getting into. And wouldn't change anything if I was doing it over again. I get surprised by things that come up though, like the gift money thing.