The Japanese have always been particular when it comes to detail. Even when wrapping a gift - something that may be menial even - every detail is brought into consideration. I am learning about many different styles of Japanese wrapping this semester, one specifically which is called furoshiki seems to be the most versatile. The base of every wrapping is a single, square piece of fabric. There are many different folds and knots that can get one varying results for each type of thing they are packaging. Bottles, books, watermelon, etc all have a unique way to be wrapped.
The best part is that not only is the item within a gift, but the wrapper as well. It can be obviously reused for a plethora of things - headscarves, bags, or just a simple splash of colour in a room. Furoshiki is becoming a big hit lately for being a personal eco-friendly way to carry any item. Paper gift wrapping just gets crumpled and thrown away, and plastic bags are seen as a plague now.
In Japanese culture the wrapping can be very very particular. When taking an item to be wrapped you would tell the person a few things about your relationship to the person recieving it: for example, if they are older, of a high stature, related to you or not, etc. Each of these things would be taken into thought, and the gift would be wrapped accordingly so as to not offend the recipient, but compliment adn respect them. When I mention this to someone, I usually get a response of "gee - that seems like they are going to far too much trouble to wrap a gift." The thing though is that like the tea ceremony, it is an art that most westerners cannot understand(except in the name of eco-friendliness). For the Japanese though, this is another form of art in adn of itself. To make everything in life beautiful and have deep meaning.