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Accepting / declining offered food 2016/11/27 08:52
On my previous two trips to Japan Ifve had a lot of locals offer me food. Mostly sweets from old ladies, the occasional onigiri, rice crackers, dried plum, etc.

I never really known what to do in these cases. I have accepted them if they were small things, however I always feel uncomfortable after, like I donft know how to say thank you enough (I donft speak Japanese so I mostly resort to bowing slightly and an arigatou with one of my lovely smiles) or feel like I have to repay them / offer something in return (I never have anything to give).

I have declined the food in one case since it seemed like too much (home cooked, there werenft many left for the lady herself if I took it), but later I felt like it must have been rude of me to refuse.

Ifm wondering if there is a specific protocol for this that Ifm not aware of? What am I supposed to do in these cases?
by To accept or not to accept (guest)  

Re: Accepting / declining offered food 2016/11/27 20:03
If it is being given to you for you to take it away with you, then it is best to accept it, with your smile and `domo arigato gozaimasu`. If you cannot consume it, then out of sight you can give it away again, or throw it away.

If it is being offered to eat right then, just leave it uneaten if you cannot eat it. Or learn `chotto goenryo shimasu` to decline.
by Paul (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Accepting / declining offered food 2016/11/28 09:15
It's not common to accept food from strangers even among Japanese.
You can say
Arigato, onaka ga ippai desu. (Thanks, I'm full.)
You should not deny directly, it's a little too strong to many of Japanese. If you can say like above they can guess what you are going to say.
by Ame (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Accepting / declining offered food 2016/11/28 09:31
Who is giving you the food? Do you know them very well? Do you see them on more than one occasion or are they random strangers?

I think it's rude to decline food offered unless you have a good reason (eg: you're vegetarian). Even then it's kinda rude, and if possible you should try to eat whatever people offer and make a big deal about how delicious it is. People offer me snacks a lot, often snacks I can't eat. I say thank you and discreetly put them in my bag when no one is looking.

If they're people you see frequently, you should return the favour by giving them food too. They're probably giving you omiyage, and if this is the case, you're expected to give omiyage in return. But if it's a random old lady at a bus stop who offers you candy then I wouldn't worry about it.
by Jenn Jett (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Accepting / declining offered food 2016/11/28 17:58
I find that the custom of declining food is just as same as it is in any country that I've been to, be it the Americas, Europe or Asia. It's not rude to decline, as long as you decline it properly.

If you don't want it, just pat your stomach implying that you're full and say "kekko-desu" (no thank you) with a smile. If they're very insistent, you can even wave your hand or push your hands against the food to imply "no, no, please".

But you can also take the food away with you. That in fact is the traditional way to accept food that you find difficult to eat at the spot.

On a related note, local residents (like me) don't typically get food offered that much. They offer food because they think you're a tourist, and they want you to experience something local. Also, children are educated to not accept food from any stranger, without the judgement of an accompanied adult.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Accepting / declining offered food 2016/12/2 11:18
I am totally with Jenn on this one.

I recently completed a massive trip around Japan in my campervan and was regularly offered small (and sometimes not so small) gifts. I always accepted them with a big smile and plenty of thanks and people always seemed genuinely happy that I had done so.

The older generation especially hand out small gifts like this all the time. My mum-in-law always keeps at hand some cans of coffee or pieces of fruit to give to the takyubin men when they come round to drop something off...

And I don't think anybody cares that much if you don't use/consume the gifts. Its the actual acts of kindly giving and graciously receiving that are important...
by andy (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Accepting / declining offered food 2016/12/10 23:11
Accept every food you are offered. Do not turn down hospitality from any local of your adaptive country, especially the Japanese. There's just no saying NO to their hospitality.
by theqbf rate this post as useful

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