The Art of Gift Giving


Posted on May 9th, by Joni Montgomery in Trading Cultures. 1 Comment

Gifts I have made

 

Metal tags I made to put on keychains.

Metal tags I made to put on keychains.

This week I have been exercising my mental and artistic skills. I have finally completely (and hopefully, accurately) memorized my self-introduction in Japanese! I plan on making LOTS of friends in Japan so I have been making loads of homemade gifts. I have been utilizing my hand sewing skills to make key fobs, blacksmithing skills to make key chains/charms and woodworking skills to make pens. I never do anything halfway and my hands are reflecting this trait. I have accidentally burned and stripped off my fingerprints from making these gifts. But hey, now I can leave the country and not leave any fingerprints along my path!

 

A few of my finished pens.

A few of my finished pens.

My dad is an amazing woodworker and has been teaching me how to make the pens. I am using mostly American wood to make them extra memorable to my Japanese friends! Simplified, the first step is cutting blocks of wood to the proper length of the two barrels. Holes are then drilled into the blocks and the brass barrels are glued in. Once the glue dries, the blocks of wood are mounted onto the lathe, which is a power tool that spins the blocks rapidly. Various chisels are used to cut the blocks down and round them into the shape of the pens. Once the basic shape is chiseled, a myriad of sandpapers are used to smooth the wood – starting with the coarsest paper and working down to the finest paper.

Once the pen shafts are silky smooth, a liquid polisher is used to finish the wood. It polishes and seals by the friction and heat of the spinning pen. After this, the pen parts are assembled using a tool to help slide the parts into place. Below is a video clip of my dad demonstrating how to properly use the lathe and chisels to cut the wood down into the final shape of the pen.

Some of my hand-sewn key fobs.

Some of my hand-sewn key fobs.

 

Before going to any country, it is very important to acquaint yourself with that country’s customs. According to my research, Japan is known as the “most prevalent gift-giving country” and there are many guidelines to follow when giving and receiving gifts. For instance, gifts should be given and received with two hands, using only one hand can be interpreted as unappreciative or rude. Also, gifts should be given at the end of an interaction – never at the beginning, which could be viewed as rushing the relationship.

Wrapping gifts in certain colors and certain color combinations have specific meanings and convey particular messages. Red is used for funerals and tombstones and it is best if avoided. Black also represents death or bad luck. Red and black together represents sexuality and should most definitely be avoided! The safest colors to wrap in are white or pastels such as yellow, purple, green and pink. From what I have learned, I personally will be wrapping my gifts in white or a nice non-offensive pastel!

 





One thought on “The Art of Gift Giving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



From the Blog

Wondering what it's really like to be at The University of Findlay? Follow our bloggers and read—and sometimes listen and watch—their experiences. Real Oilers. Real stories. Real life.

Unvirtuous Findlay: How My Unlikely Master’s Thesis Topic Found Me

“Who wants to learn about prostitutes?” That’s the question I enthusiastically ask at the beginning of my presentation on the topic. From their reactions,...

Almost Like Home for the Holidays

A few weeks ago, I was walking on campus with a friend of mine from the pre-vet program, and we were talking about Thanksgiving...

Never Too Old to Learn

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is a saying that many people are familiar with, and even live by. However, I’m not...

Dear Incoming Freshman: A Reflection Letter

Since the beginning of this semester, a lot of things have changed. I would be lying if I said that one of those things...

My Journey in the Dawg Pound

If someone asked, “What does Delaney Haas love?,” the Cleveland Browns would be one of the first things mentioned.  I adore the (currently) winless...

Why Findlay is my perfect fit, and may be yours!

For me, choosing which college to attend was an easy decision. I have known since the seventh grade that I wanted to go to...

40K – FTK and for Kalie

This past Saturday, November the 11th, was University of Findlay Miracle Network Dance Marathon’s big event, OilerTHON. Sponsored by Circle K International, this ten-hour...

The Senioritis Struggle: Part 1

From when I first walked through the Griffith Memorial Arch as a freshman, I dreamed about walking the opposite way at graduation, kissing away...

Going Nuclear: Why I Never Really Never Left Las Vegas

In 2006, I got married on a broiling hot 104-degree day in Las Vegas, Nevada. A year later, I went back to learn about...

Curtains Up!

During my very first week here at the University of Findlay, freshmen had the opportunity to attend a session where representatives from more than...

Exactly Where I’m Supposed to Be

When I moved to Findlay, I knew I would miss seeing my family and friends everyday, I’d miss my dog, and I’d miss my...

Brave New World: Facing the Unfamiliar for Friendships’ Sake

Have you ever felt an emptiness in your heart that you’re not sure how to fill? I’ve felt it many times after coming here...

Five Healthy Habits for a Happy Freshman Year

One of my passions is living a health-conscious lifestyle. I believe that maintaining good physical and mental health overall makes you a happier person....

A Day in the Life

During a session I attended a few years ago that offered pointers regarding how to navigate graduate school, one University of Findlay professor said...

Music to my ears?

I’ve been involved in choirs for as long as I can remember, but none of that prepared me for the challenge of coming into...