I was chatting with a Japanese friend, and she told me that it was common in Japan these days for a man to pay three times his monthly salary to buy his fiancee's wedding ring. I couldn't believe it, so my friend said that the Japanese showed their love by buying expensive presents. The more expensive, the better proof of love it is.

Is this true ? I heard that the Japanese were more materialists than Europeans, but this is really unbelievable for me.

How does that relate with the tradition of omiyage, toshi-dama and present-giving in general ? Are they all signs of affection, or just duty ?