If you’ve lived in Japan for over a year, you will probably be aware that March 14 marks ホワイトデー (howaito dē, White Day). On this day, anyone who received gifts on Valentine’s Day should return the kindness.

Since バレンタインデー (barentain dē, Valentine’s Day) in Japan is traditionally defined by women giving gifts to men, ホワイトデー is an occasion on which men gift women with chocolates and sometimes flowers. The tradition is more openly a creation of companies selling sweets to increase profits, but some believe the Japanese took to it so easily because of an entrenched お返し文化 (okaeshi-bunka, gift-returning culture).

The バレンタイン and ホワイトデー combo isn’t the only occasion for which exchanging gifts are common. There are 入学祝い (nyūgaku iwai, celebrations upon starting school), 合格祝い (gōkaku iwai, the celebration upon passing an entrance exam), 卒業祝い (sotsugyō iwai, a graduation celebration), 就職祝い (shūshoku iwai, a celebration upon getting a job), 結婚祝い (kekkon iwai, a wedding celebration), 出産祝い (shussan iwai, celebrating the birth of a child) and 還暦祝い (kanreki iwai, a celebration for when you reach the age of 60). So, yeah, that’s a lot of gifts.