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Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/7 08:15
We will have a free guide for an afternoon in Tokyo. Would like some suggestions given the following info:

- Guide is female in her early 60's.
- We will be traveling for another week prior to arriving in August, so nothing that will melt or spoil in hot, humid weather (e.g. chocolates, which is commonly suggested).
- We're from California.
- Prefer not to give souvenirs or trinkets as the guide probably has tons from other tourists and it would just take up extra space in her home (so we heard).
- No handmade gifts-- I'm not particularly crafty.

Are there any consumables that I could give her that Japanese people love but can't get easily buy in Tokyo? Are Jelly Belly candies commonly found in Japan? Are there certain nuts that the Japanese particularly love but are either uncommon or expensive to purchase in Japan?
by Jazzabela  

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/7 17:22
Maybe dried pasta that is cheese stuffed? Cheese stuffed dried pasta is really rare in Japan, Costco Japan sells it (but as a refrigerated form) and its super expensive, I haven't seen it at any normal grocery store in Japan. Japan of course sells dried pasta, but not the cheese stuff ones. I know its not California or American specific but its something they have in the U.S. that is rare and expensive in Japan. Or maybe one of those dried soup mixes (like those gourmet ones such as Bob's Mill brand)? Japan has a very limited selection of soups so that would be an interesting gift and if its a dried bean soup it would be unique because in Japan only soybeans and adzuki beans are commonly found, other types of beans are not seen.
by Ashley (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/9 01:30
I would suggest paper napkins with a nice design or organic spice mix.

I'm very similar to your guide. Japanese female in my mid 50s, have worked as a semi-voluntary guide, and I grew up in California.

Paper napkins aren't commonly used here in Japan as much as they are in California, and since there is less demand there is less variety of designs. When I traveled to California a few years ago, I picked up some fun designs I found at stationary shops. The napkins will be a good treat at parties where we need to lighten up the table with disposable goods. And the guide will be free to keep them to remember you if she decides to do so.

Imported organic foods (as opposed to domestic organic foods) is another thing that is slightly difficult to get in any country, and unfortunately Japan doesn't have the Whole Foods Market franchise (although we have smaller organic food store franchises). I often enjoy things like a balanced mixture of several dried herbs that you can throw into your pan when making steak or stew.

Just to add, we do have a great variety of instant soup, Japanese, other Asian and Western, as well as a huge variety of beans traditional and modern. But the world always seems to come up with new ideas for soup, and giving away one of your favorites is always a treat.

Hope you have fun touring!
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/9 02:08
I dont know how it is in Japan, but in Germany many consider ready made soups low Quality, for me it would be like really cheapskate. But ofc Adzuki bean soup would be something cool if it were the other way around.

Anyhow i dont know if you get to Little Tokyo or Little Osaka in California, but they probably should know best what Japanese could like from California.

I would have said choclate, because the Japanese choclate i tried was horrible, i heard it is because of the Import restriction. But i also heard you can get that in Japan so it might be not such a good idea. I ofc would have ment swiss choclate and not Hershey or so.
by Kenshiro (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/9 04:19
I would say "No" to Jelly Belly. I grew up in Japan and moved to California. One thing about American candies/sweets are that they are too sweet for Japanese taste. One thing to remember when giving a gift (no matter what) to a Japanese is that packaging is very important. So find something that's nicely packaged or nicely gift wrap it yourself. If you wish to give something from California, pistachio nuts from California is considered "the best" in the world.
by Hiroe I. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/9 13:49
One thing about American candies/sweets are that they are too sweet for Japanese taste.

That's the thing: Some Japanese like it because they are too sweet to be easily obtained in Japan. For that reason, See's Candies have been one of the most popular gifts from California. Jelly beans are quite accessible here too, though. But it's nice to have special ones as gifts because of the colorful appearance. Airports always sell the best and most popular gifts, but I know it's always better to have ideas in advance.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/12 18:26
@Kenshiro (guest) did you even look up the soup examples I mentioned? It's not ready made, its a dry mix of organic wild rices, herbs, beans, dried vegetables, etc. You have to add your own water and cook it. It's those sort of organic soups not the usual ones you find in the regular grocery store but the kind you find at a food co-op or trader joes or at a gift shop store, I am from the U.S. and my hometown has those organic soup mixes at a gift shop store, alot of times people put those type of soup mixes (organic ones not the mass produced boring ones from a regular grocery store) in a nice jar and tie a ribbon on it, she could bring the soup mix with and when she arrives in Japan put them in a jar brought with, since opening food before customs at the airport wouldn't be a good idea but when she arrives at the hotel it could be put in a decorative mason jar.
by Ashley (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/13 10:49
Uco- Paper napkins with nice designs are found at every kitchen&decor store chain in Japan even if grocery stores don't sell them. Also Ikea Japan sells nice patterned napkins at a really cheap price.
by Micaela (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/13 13:35
Micaela, that's good to know. Thank you!
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Gift for Goodwill Guide 2017/7/14 03:56
Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone! Will first try to get some fancy nuts in nice packaging from a local store. That seems easiest. I had heard that nuts, especially pistachios, are hard to find or expensive in Japan, but most of that research is quite dated, so I wasn't sure if that's still the case currently.
by Jazzabela rate this post as useful

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