O-Chugen and O-Seibo Japanese Gift Giving

O-seibo gifts

It is a tradition in Japan, and among many Japanese Americans, to periodically give gifts to certain people. The two big gift giving seasons are o-chugen that takes place in the middle of summer and o-seibo which takes place at the end of the year.  These gifts are given to express gratitude to people who provided some type of care during the year. Examples are bosses, parents, relatives and teachers.  O-chugen gifts are usually sent from early to mid-July and o-seibo gifts are usually sent from early to mid- December.  This is a nice tradition because it shows certain people that you really appreciate what they do for you.  You too can participate in this excellent Japanese tradition by giving a gift to someone you care about during the o-chugen or o-seibo seasons.

Today people typically have their o-chugen and o-seibo gifts delivered to recipients from an online store. Some people, however, will bring gifts to recipient’s homes.  Gifts range widely in prices, but typically gifts will cost from under $30 to $100 per gift. Popular gifts are sets of assorted beer, desserts, tea and many other food items.  Sweets are often given to families with children.  Non-food o-seubo and o-chugen items can also be given. You can find examples of non-food gift items on Asian online stores such as www.zodiacals.com. Each gift package should be labeled with the words “o-seibo” or “o-chugen”. Ideally these words should be written on a thin paper, which in Japan is called noshi.

Photo by drcw – http://tinyurl.com/hbxqtjd

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

Japan and China Have World’s Oldest Populations

Old Japanese Man

In China the number of citizens age 65 or older is growing 4% a year. This makes China the most rapidly graying population in world history.  It is predicted that China’s working-age population will contract by about 100 million by 2035.  This is significant because China is the world’s most populous country and the second largest economy.  A decrease in the number of working-age people could result in a decline of China’s economic rise.  This is happening as the long-term effects of China’s one-child policy kick in and as healthcare advances reduce mortality rates.

Japan currently has the world’s oldest population. The average age in Japan is 46.  This is mostly due to low fertility rates and long life expectancies.  The average life expectancy in Japan is 84. Japan’s total population fell by a record amount last year, and the pace of decline is expected to accelerate until 2060. As with China, Japan’s working-age population has been declining and is expected to shrink by more than a third by 2035.  The reason for this is a combination of a low birth rate and a lack of immigration.  This also has economic implications because Japan is the world’s third largest economy and a lower number of workers could have a negative on their economic growth.

In contrast to Japan and China, the United States is projected to have modest overall population and working age population growth over the next 20 years. The United States has a higher fertility rate than Japan or China and the population is augmented by continued immigration.  Many of those immigrating to the United States are highly educated.  The growth and quality of the working age population in the United States  will likely have positive economic implications as the United States is the world’s largest economy and the third most populous country.

Photo by Jon Rawlinson – http://preview.tinyurl.com/hqumeac

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig