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I also need and want to give a gift 2008/4/18 08:17
My proffesor here at Nagoya University has invited me over for lunch with his family at his house. I asked him green in the face (Dutch style) what is the protocol and customary habits for a guest. He replied that he understands that I come from a different culture and it is not neccesary for me to behave in a Japanese fashion.
However he said that small gifts are appropriate.
I read here on the forum that things from one's home culture are highly appreciated. So I thought ogf giving them:
1. a hand made peculiar table cloth from Romania (my home country);
2. for the kids two traditionally (woden) dressed dolls and some traditional handbags to go with.
My question is: are there any taboos regarding the above gifts? What would a better idea be? Thank you!
by dooreel  

... 2008/4/18 15:08
Those sound indeed lovely but perhaps over the top. I think you have been reading about people doing homestay. If it's just one dinner, typically people bring wine, dessert or flowers. You know, something to add to the table, to make the wife happy. If you wish to bring items from home, something small and inexpensive might be appropriate.
by Uco rate this post as useful

'Giri' 2008/4/18 18:13
'Giri' is the idea of obligation. In gift giving, it shows itself when people continually exchange gifts, but it becomes sort of a burden for them. Your gifts sound great, but it your professor might feel the need to return something back to you because they are so 'great' If you really want to give these gifts, play them down when you give them. You might say something like, 'Oh, these are just little gifts for you. It's nothing.' I think this would be the way to present them.
by Htio rate this post as useful

Thank you 2008/4/19 18:42
for your great suggestions. I did not intend anything embarassing for them. Those small dolls are for the daughters, which I think they will enjoy. They are not at all expensive, but they are of quality. I will be careful when I hand them.
Another question would be: how to give the gifts? Who to start with? Or whom is it indicated to hand them to, when you are in the house?
by dooreel rate this post as useful

handing gifts 2008/4/19 22:10
There are no strict rules on handing gifts in situations like yours, but in my experiences, I find the following best.

You can start giving the gift once you are in the house. If you give them earlier, the reciever must carry it all the way home, which is an unnecessary burden.

However, if there are other guests, it is better to give the gifts sort of secretly so that those who didn't bring any wouldn't feel uncomfortable.

Typically, gifts are given to the person you are closest to. Since that person will know the best way to present them to the family. In this case, you seem to know the professor best, so hand it to him saying it's for who and who. Or you can just tell him you brought something and ask him if it is alright to hand it to who and who yourself.

A lot of locals hand gifts to children out of the blue, but as a parent I appreciate it if the sender asks the parent first, since the parent might have things in mind like "treats are for after dinner" etc.

Hope you have fun.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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