For about a month now a certain neighbor on our street has been coming to the Saito house almost daily, always bearing some type of gift, such as daikon (a large radish). A few weeks ago the woman's son came over to my house for some English conversation, and the family then invited me to their home for dinner and English conversation, Round 2. Okaasan had expressed to me that she thought the constant gift-flow was a bit odd, and also stated that she had no desire to reciprocate. I asked okaasan if I should bring anything with me, and she said no, not to worry about it. However, I did not want to go to the Watabe household empty-handed, especially considering all the gifts that she had brought to our family, so I bought a box of cookies to bring along with me. When okaasan saw this, she quickly picked out one of her original ceramic flower pots, stuck in two flowers from the garden, and gave it to me to take as a gift in place of the cookies.
I asked her why she had done this, and she said that she didn't want me to have to worry about bringing anything. I told her that I didn't mind, but she insisted. I asked Masako about the meaning of okaasan's actions, and she told me that okaasan didn't feel that I should have to bring something to represent the Saito family.