With the Internet being what it is today, you can talk to, look at pictures of, even buy things from people all over the world. It’s pretty amazing, really. But, as with all international exchanges, sometimes there are some cultural misunderstandings going on across the Interwebs.

One Reddit user, unsure of how to react, recently posted a picture of a letter that he received with his package from an eBay seller in Japan. In addition to the following, very polite and sincere-sounding letter, in pretty good English, the seller included a free gift!

▼ What would think if you received this letter with your purchase?

ebay letter2

The letter reads:

“Thank you very much for your purchase.

I have put a bonus, if you like please.

It is called “Pokemon Card” very popular in Japan.

By the way do you have a Facebook?

I have a facebook. Please Contact me.

And, let’s be friends. Or please send me an e-mail.

… I wish the item arrives safely in you.”

Now, I can understand that someone unfamiliar with Japanese culture or deciphering Google Translate-English, may approach this letter differently, but it seems pretty harmless to me. I can see how he might seem a little desperate for (foreign) friends, but maybe he’s just being cordial. Plus a free Pokémon card?! This guy is a natural cultural ambassador!

Once on Reddit, comments from other transnational auction users came flooding in, with an overwhelming positive vibe. People started talking about how kind Japanese people are and explaining the intricacies of the Japanese “service” culture, of giving people things for free, often just out of kindness or appreciation. Others shared their own experiences.

One user wrote about receiving a formal letter and some candy with their Nintendo DS accessory order. Another eBay user claimed that when they received their goods, they also received a Japan-only Kit Kat flavor bundled in the box. (This makes me wonder if kids in Japan are taught to never take candy from strangers-or give it to strangers, for that matter.)

Some people even expressed interest in ordering something from Japan, just to get free stuff.

As hard as it is to believe though, everyone on the Internet is not so excited about getting “service.” In fact, UK news site Metro posted the letter and took a poll, asking readers if they found the original letter posted on Reddit as “very kind” or “creepy.” Somehow, 30 percent of people found it creepy! Perhaps it was the Facebook friend request that pushed them over?

I guess I could see the request for friendship as a little unexpected and strange, but I think “creepy” is a little exaggerated. Is it that different from companies asking customers to “Like!” them Facebook? What do you think? Have you ever received a free gift or kind (or creepy) letter from a Japanese auction site seller? Perhaps a Facebook request? Tell us in the comments section below!

Image: Reddit
[ Read in Japanese ]