Monday, November 06, 2006
As I mentioned before, one of my students got into the college for which I'd been helping her prepare for an interview. I thought at the time that I should get her a gift to congratulate her but my numerous health issues as of late derailed that thought. After a 10-day break, she had a lesson with me again and brought me a gift (pictured above).
For those who don't live in Japan, most gifts from Japanese people arrive looking like this. That is, they are wrapped at the store in store-brand paper and often handed to you in a shopping bag from that store. It's pretty rare to get a gift from a Japanese person which they have wrapped by hand. In fact, I can't recall ever getting a gift which was wrapped by hand.
As far as I know, the etiquette for such gifts is to accept them graciously and set them aside to be opened later when the person who gave them is not present. I think they'd find it pretty embarrassing otherwise but this could be one of those points on which I'm uncertain of what to do. Even if I was told it was okay to open a gift in front of a student, I'm not sure I would as it would waste time the student is paying for.
The gift was these two bone china coffee cups. They're average in size which is to say somewhat large by Japanese standards. She told me one was for me and one for my husband (hence the pink and blue). They are Minton Haddon Hill collection china which means they are part of a proper china pattern (the sort that couples register for when they marry). I'm sure they were relatively expensive.
In the future, the lessons I do with this student will now turn to helping her pass her classes. She just started taking two of them and it's all pretty overwhelming for her now as her first class is about the justice system in the United States focusing on the juvenile court system. The funny thing is that I understand almost everything in her textbook despite never having studied anything about the subject. It's a real testimonial to the number of courtroom dramas on television in the U.S. and how they introduce us to a lot of the legal system's jargon and structure.