Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Meeting friend for first time 2007/4/3 01:06
My penpal and her family will be meeting us at the airport when we arrive for our first trip to Japan. She is nervous about meeting a foreigner. I hope to greet her properly and want to know if I should bow and say, "Hajimemashite. Watashi wa (my full name) desu."
Is this too formal or the proper greeting? Please advise me. I know very, very little Japanese but feel I should attempt to greet her properly. By the way, we are both housewives and I will have one of my children. I feel she is going out of her way to meet me at the airport. Do you have any suggestions for gifts? I have read ideas on other posts. How do I know if she or her husband drinks alcohol? I have never asked because I think it's rude to ask. Also, would some toys, candy, or such be alright for girls, aged 3, 7, and 13? Any other ideas which would be better from Boston? Also, I'm meeting a friend ( a male penpal) for dinner, should I offer to pay my part of the bill? Thanks for all your advice! I am looking forward to my visit.
by Dot  

My 2 cents 2007/4/4 15:12
I can imagine that both of you are very excited and nervous about that first meeting. Japanese are very kind and picking you up at the airport is just part of it. Since she is a housewife she is able to do so, while someone who works would not be able to do so. I expect you write to each other in English and your friend will greet you in English I expect. Sure you can introduce yourself in Japanese and she will be very pleased, but English will be fine as well.
About the presents. First of all, everything from outside Japan and typical for your region will be ver much appreciated. Though in Japan the giving is more important than the present itself. Make sure to wrap it nicely and dont be concerned when they dont get unwraped in your presens, that is the way. Most Japanese drink alcohol and it is not a rude question to ask. With candy you should be careful. Japanese dont like too sweet things and most of western candy is like that. You can of course bring some, but in a small amount I suggest. Further, there is a rule that gifts are best food and drinks, since the space in Japanese houses is limited.
I hope this is of any help...
by frined rate this post as useful

the dinner question 2007/4/4 15:15
Oh, forgot about the dinner question. A lot of people go Dutch here in Japan and you should offer your share of the bill. Usually the woman asks about the amount she has to pay and the guy will give a number, usually below 50%. However, your penpal will might refuse to take your money and this will be fine then.
by frined rate this post as useful

. 2007/4/4 17:41
If you are invited to a dinner, it is likely they'll foot the bill, as you are the guest. (Unless both of you and your friend are students or something like that and financially limited, I don't think they want to go Dutch.)

It is nice if you can offer to pay, though sure they'll decline. You can insist (if you really mean it) twice, but if they decline for the second time, then just accept it gracefully, and thank them and tell them how much you enjoyed the meal, that'll please them.
by . rate this post as useful

my opinion 2007/4/4 20:29
Hi Dot,

"Hajimemashite. Watashi wa (my full name) desu." would be perfect. A very typical all-occasion first time greeting that anyone would say. I think it's always nice to try to do greetings in the local language.

And yes, we housewives all know that she will be going out of her way to come to the airport with three kids at home (or coming along), don't we :) Typical souveniors would be fine though. And as mentioned, there is nothing rude about asking whether one drinks or not. You can even ask for souvenior requests.

Toys and candy would be lovely. But don't you think that older children are picky about toys? Perhaps things like pin badges, wrist bands or colorful stationary would be better for the 13 year old. Or just the candy is fine. You may want to assort small packs of different snacks just in case they are not used to the taste of some of them.

I have no idea about Boston souveniors, but I suppose the shops, the airport shops in particular, know best.

As for the dinner between adults, it's common for either the male, the host(ess) or the inviter to pay. Usually, everyone offers to pay for themself, and if someone says that it's on him, you can say, "Are you sure? Thank you."

Have a nice stay!
by Uco, Japanese housewife rate this post as useful

thank you 2007/4/5 03:41
Thank you all for your advice on my many questions about meeting my friends. Uco and frined, I'll take your advice and ask my friend what she would like for souvenirs and whether or not she and her husband like to drink and see if she answers me. Also I'll try to wrap it in a decorative wrapping bag in case the customs at the airport needs to inspect it. Hopefully it will look okay. I guess the lesson is to enjoy each other's company and not worry. Thanks everyone!
by Dot rate this post as useful

Same Question ... Sort Of 2007/4/5 06:40
I have sort of the same question. When I meet my friend .. should I great her or her parents first? ... I have not seen my friend in almost 3 years because she was an exchange student to my school 2003-2004 ... and now i am visiting her, yet I have never met her parents.
by Emily rate this post as useful

Emily 2007/4/5 10:10
I'm not sure if I understand your question, Emily. I think it's universal that people greet whoever they see first or whoever they're introduced to first, be it a job interview or meeting the queen of England. Does this help?
by Uco rate this post as useful

Uco 2007/4/5 12:25
Well my friend and her mother will be picking me up from the airport, so I will see both at the same time. i was just wondering if it would be rude for me to greet my friend before her mother.
by Emily rate this post as useful

Emily 2007/4/5 18:10
No, I don't think it would be rude at all.

But anyway, I can't really imagine people greeting others in order. People usually say "Hi!" and wave at BOTH of them, or if you're Japanese you'd wave (sort of towards the daughter) and nod (as a simple bow to the mother) and it's not that one comes before the other. You sort of look at them at the same time. That's how people are, I think.

Just be natural, that's all. Either way, it's not rude whoever you greet first.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Use family name instead first name 2007/8/9 01:23
Meeting a penpal for the first time can be quite nerve-wracking at first. If I were you, I would say ''Hajimemashite, Lee Melissa desu. Dozo yoroshiku.'' or ''Hajimemashite, Melissa Lee desu. dozo yoroshiku.'' Although I first learned how to introduce myself using my first name in Japanese class, I would rather use my family name instead, because it's most commonly used. I don't agree with using my first name to introduce myself.

Have a great experience.
by Melissa rate this post as useful

reply to this thread