The Meaning of Cake

The boy who scratched my son was made to apologize to Jio. His mother apologized to me twice in person. She also called here last night to apologize to my husband, but Yoshi was not satisfied. He said that the mother should have come to our house with her son and a box of cakes to apologize.

This got me to thinking about all the situations in this country where people don’t eat dessert in which you are supposed to show up with cake:

– when you go to someone’s house for the first time
– when you go to someone’s house for the second/third/fourth time
– when you have received a monetary gift and want to express gratitude
– when you have rear-ended someone in traffic and want to apologize
– when someone rides their bike into your car and you want to make sure they weren’t injured too seriously
– when you want to thank your sister-in-law for babysitting

And, in an example from Gwyn Helverson’s short story “…all mixed up…”, when you miss out on your koto recital due to measles thus irritating your teacher.

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4 thoughts on “The Meaning of Cake

  1. In my neighborhood, it’s a box of towels. White hand towels. We haven’t had to apologize to anyone or accept an apology for a while. I’d rather eat cake.

  2. What a list — I lived in Japan for three years and had no idea that I should have been handing out cake for all of these reasons! I got hung up on the “Christmas Cake issue”.

    I so enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your experiences — you bring back many happy memories and make me ponder what life would be like had I not returned to the US.

    This is my first time to post to someone’s blog — I feel like I’m getting into the current century!

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