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.

Proper small gifts for strangers? 2008/8/22 00:49
I've looked through the forums and while I've found some partial answers I was looking for something more solid.

I am in the beginning stages of planning my trip to Japan. I am aware of the custom of giving small gifts to strangers who go out of their way to help you.

I've read people mention chocolates and other consumables but what other gifts are appropriate? I don't want to spend a lot of money but at the same time I would like to have enough items to last me for several weeks.

Also, my friend recently went to Japan to teach. A native family near him has sort of adopted him and from my understanding has made his adjustment much easier. Is it appropriate to give a gift of thanks to these people? To my knowledge it is a mother and her two children(possibly a father but I'm not sure yet).

Thank you in advance for all of your help.
by MelodicAria  

You're probably thinking too much 2008/8/22 13:35
It's not really a "custom" to give small gifts to strangers who go out of their way to help you. It's just that it's human nature to want to express appreciation when someone is especially nice to you. It's nothing unique to Japan. Don't think of it as a big deal.

I've traveled to different countries and wherever I go people I meet in train compartments might offer to share a pack of sweets with me, or people might give me a tiny elephant for some free interpreting I did for them. That sort of thing. I've seen visitors to Japan handing out tiny paper flags of their country. I've seen a teenage poster on this forum mentioning she handed out pin badges which were well accepted.

Anything would be nice. You don't really have to give gifts. It's just that it'd be nicer. And it's just that if the gift is too big compared to the favor the reciever did, it might be a burden to the reciever. And you don't want to carry around chocolates in this season just to wait for them to be handed out to strangers you might not meet, because by the time they reach them, they'd melt. Something more non-meltable might be nicer.

About your friend, if he friend was practically "adopted", meaning he's practically family to them now, I'm sure he will be wanting to send greeting cards to them every year. And what would he want to send to a family member? Christmas gifts, maybe. It's up to him. Actually, it's up to his culture.
by Uco rate this post as useful

reply to this thread