Gift giving is surprisingly complex and interesting part of human interaction. This very act helps in defining relationships whether it’s meant romantically or not. As poignantly featured in Sakamichi no Apollon, Ritsuko showed how there are more emotions involved in giving than in receiving because it kindles a different kind of satisfaction and apprehension knowing that you would like to take care and do something for somebody.
Ritsuko is depicted as an amiable and emotionally vulnerable girl that’s why it’s really nice to see how she managed to figure out her feelings and how she gained the confidence to do something for Kaoru. But most all, it’s really charming of her to see how anxious she got before and after she left the blue mittens that she personally knitted inside the piano because it surely takes a lot of courage to admit that she fell for someone she just rejected.
For some reason, after watching Apollon and due to some in real life activities, I realised that often it’s the giver, rather than the recipient, benefits the most psychological gains from gift giving, but at the same time, the giver is also the one who experiences the most stress.
In fact, it was my best friend’s birthday not too long ago. Ritsuko reminded me of how energy and mentally consuming it was to look for that perfect gift. “Is he going to like it or not”, I asked myself. However, the joys of overthinking and imagining that the gift is going to be loved and appreciated was very compensating and rewarding.
That said, I’m aware that one might imply that gift giving is just mostly valued for its economic importance. But come to think of it, we can genuinely argue that it mainly entails the importance of the person in one’s life. Gifts are extensions of the giver and gift giving is a ritual wherein the recipient is symbolically accepting the giver—an act of transference a piece of oneself.
Hence in a nutshell, we can say that giving gifts reinforces our feelings and priorities. As nicely shown by Ritsuko and Kaoru, giving is an effective symbol of love when it is spontaneous and unexpected rather than obligatory.
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Gift giving has always been hard for me because you have to know someone very well to get the appropriate gift. Even if you think you understand that person, the moment where you have to ask what they might theoretically want can be very difficult if you know what that implies about the relationship. Of course it might be harder to hand them a gift without knowing if they will like it.
I guess the “mystery” is what also make gift giving special. You’re always guessing what to give whether you know the person or not. But I agree, handing can be really difficult if you have no idea what to give.
Foxy Lady Ayame said:
I like the way you give meaning to the gift giving. Indeed the giver puts a lot of his time and feelings in choosing the right gift. I would have liked to see though a distinction between handmade and ready gifts. Creating something for a loved one brings much joy to both parties. It really encapsules the sentiments; mittens are meant to warm you up, you think protectively of the other person.
And since we talk about Japan, it’d be nice, if the nature of gift-giving or in japanese ‘zoutou’ was mentioned. They value a lot practicality and there are several occasions were gifts are given; to be more precise, there are 43 kinds of seasonal and ceremonial gifts and 85 occasions on which gifts may be given!
Wow Ayame, you always astonishes me. I have no idea that there are 43 kinds of seasonal and ceremonial gifts and 85 occasions on which gifts may be given!. That’s really interesting.
I totally agree that handmade gifts kind of give more value especially knowing that lots of effort was exerted to make that, and it’s very romantic and sentimental as well. Very nice.
Gift giving isn’t one of my strong suits. I learned that first-hand a few years ago. I remember the nervousness that came with deciding, and the anxiety that went with actually handing it over. Sometimes I got lucky and got it right, oftentimes, not much. As reassuring it is to hear “It’s the thought that counts..” it always felt better to hear something like “Thanks! I love it.” (with that I also learned to confer with my mom and my brother first, lol)
Totally agree. Sometimes if I hear “It’s the thought that counts..”, I’m feeling like it’s a polite way of saying I didn’t really like it or it’s a “meh” gift… something to that effect. And yeah, “Thanks! I love it.” really makes me feel warm and fuzzy haha.
I really liked how this was treated in the anime. Especially the moment when Kaoru opens the piano and sees them. Looking at from his perspective it’s understandable as to why he is apprehensive about thanking her after she turned him down earlier.
Because like most of us awkward people wearing them and her seeing them is the easiest way to thank her without saying anything. It was just nice and I wish this could happen more in peoples lives.
Oh yes, Kaoru’s reaction was priceless but we couldn’t really blame him for acting like… but the reaction that I enjoyed the most was Ritsuko’s reaction as she passed by as Kaoru hid the mittens. It’s really heartwarming to see how sad she was–thinking that Kaoru didn’t like her gift.
I think giving gifts to loved ones is a great thing. It’s always rewarding to see their faces light up and know that you made them happy, kinda weird how that works.
I guess that’s the true purpose of giving a gift… to make people happy. ^^
This reminded me of how anxious I was when I was trying to buy a Father’s Day gift for my dad. That one’s a bit tough.
Normally, when I hang out with friends and family, I’ll try to observe what tickle their fancy and whatnot. And when the time comes (be it birthday or Christmas) I’ll get them whatever is it they wanted but didn’t get for various reasons. It makes shopping for presents a lot easier.
Aww, that’s so sweet. I hope your dad enjoyed his gift. I, on the other hand, don’t have a dad… but I know exactly the feeling because I feel the same way every mother’s day.
That is indeed true. Especially when you want the recipient to be happy with the gift you are giving, the effort in brainstorming what presents would make them happy makes it all worth it. I remembered buying a Galaxy W (not cheap, so had to share with my sis) for my dad’s birthday this year since he had been constantly saying “Ahh how I wish to have a smartphone..” I guess it’s pretty easy to find a gift for that eh..
Aww, you bought a Galaxy W for you dad… how sweet! ^^