まくらのそうし ―さうし 【枕草子】
"Makura no Soshi" (The Pillow Book), a collection of essays by the Heian Period (794-1185) writer and lady of the court Sei Shonagon, includes a story about receiving a gift of Chinese confectionery from Fujiwara no Yukinari, a court official who was known for his calligraphic skills.
The present was heidan, a rice cake with a filling. In her thank-you note, which she sent with a twig of red Japanese apricot, Sei Shonagon wrote: 'How cold of you not to bring it to me in person," using the Japanese word reitan for cold. It was a play on words by the talented woman.
I don't know whether cool Yukinari was attracted to the older woman, but the custom of sending presents to women seems to be common to all ages and cultures. In an affluent society, the present could be something like a bouquet or accessories. In the old days, food must also have been appreciated....Actually, it is said that Yukinari, who was among the best-looking and most cultured among court officials, was Sei Shonagon's favorite.