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Gift for new neighbors 2009/6/12 06:29
Tokyo 23-ku

As I am moving to Tokio into my new apartment the end of this month and heard, that it is recommended to give your new neighbors a gift, I am not sure what would be the right one for such an occasion.
I can't bring gifts from Germany, because I am already over the weight limit.
I read that towels are very popular for such occasions. Is this true?
And which neighbors should I give a present, the ones directly next door and directly above my apartment and below my apartment?
And what should I say when I give them the present, I know that it should be something like "this isn't much, but please accept it anyway", but because I only know the basics of the language, I don't know how to say this in Japanese.
by CityHunter1981  

. 2009/6/12 10:43
Welcome to Japan.

An average budget of these gifts for greeting new neighbors is between 1000 yen to 2000 yen. If you're a struggling student, 500 yen is acceptable.

Yes, tiny hand towels are popular, but now that people are becoming more picky about the designs they want to use, consumable gifts, in other words things that disappear, are more appreciated in cases like these where you don't really know much about the receiver.

Typical gifts are tea and sweets. Why not drop by a confectionary shop of your choice and ask for advice. A low-priced item in a pretty box would do.

Speaking from experience, it would be nice to put your name on the gift so that your neighbors can remember your name (as well as names of your family members if you're living with any). Traditionally, the Japanese use what we call "noshi" but a tiny gift card is often used as well.

Yes, those directly next to you and the people directly above and under your floor are fine. The idea is to greet people that might be affected while living there, so if you feel that there is anyone else that might be affected, you can give it to them as well. For example, we have people living across the street from our backyard fence, and it was good that I went to greet them, because I ended up growing plants that had leaves falling on their premises.

Just introduce yourself by telling them your name and that you just moved in (or moving in soon) and say "yoroshiku onegaishimasu". You can just say "kore, douzo." as you're handing them the gift. You don't really have to make a big proper deal out of it unless you really want to.

If no one is home, you can leave a note in their mail box, or some people just give up after trying a couple of times.

Hope you have a nice stay in Japan!
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/6/12 21:58
Soap for washing clothes is traditional. I thought it was weird when I first got one.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Maybe it's just me but... 2009/6/13 10:52
I've never heard of giving soap for washing clothes when moving in. All I know is that it's a typical gift from newspaper salesmen when you make a new deal to transcribe newspapers, and also a typical summer/year end gift that you give to those who a are special to you in terms of business and other relations.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/6/13 21:46
Many people have come and gone from my apartment block and not a single new tenant has ever even come to introduce themselves, let alone given me a gift! Maybe it's because i'm foreign, but honestly the other tenants just keep to themselves, I think thats becoming more common nowadays.

I'd go introduce myself to my immeadiate neighbours, but beyond that I wouldn't go to any special effort. I do remember giving a gift (in adition to their fee) to my real estate agent for their 'service' - had to grit my teeth and just follow that stupid custom.
by Kate (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/6/14 00:15
Actually, Kate is right. Especially in "one-room-manshon" (apartments designed mainly for single people) in Tokyo, tenants seem to tend to keep to themselves. But it wouldn't really hurt to give gifts, even though it's not always necessary.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Thank You 2009/6/15 18:32
Thank you for the responses.
Allthough it is not that common these days, I want to go with it to leave a good first impression.
But you are right, the real estate agent deserves a small gift, too.
by CityHunter1981 (guest) rate this post as useful

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