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Gifts? 2010/1/18 14:22
I'm moving to Japan for a year (to study), but I've heard they really appreciate when you bring gifts from your home country. I know first-hand that gift trading is pretty common, so I was wondering what kind of gifts should I bring?

Chocolates and candy? Being from Argentina, I could shell out more money and buy sets of asado (aka barbecue) knives and forks -- that would be more expensive but more special, I'd think.

What do you reckon I should bring, if anything?
by Adam (guest)  

... 2010/1/18 19:36
Don't consider it gift trading.

If you are going to a school or living with a homestay family, it's a great idea to take gifts to show appreciation to the people who will be looking after you for the next year.

You don't have to go crazy.

Hard candy, caramels, cookies (i.e., things that don't spoil easily), scenic post cards from your home country, local souvenirs (yellow cab for NY, Eiffel Tower for Paris),etc.

If you know for whom you are buying, you can consider something nice; like a bottle of wine for homestay parents. Otherwise, I bring things that can be given to anyone, even strangers, as a gesture.

If you go to college in your home country, do bring college pendants, flags, etc. Homestay parents and teachers like that stuff.
by kyototrans rate this post as useful

. 2010/1/18 22:59
Living in Japan for nearly 4 years now, I can tell you there's a lot of things and misunderstandings about gift giving in Japan. Some people come thinking they must give gifts to every singe person they meet or helps them out, THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Seriously I read sometimes people want to bring little flags or little charms to hand out to everyone that helps them if they get lost. If someone helps you out if you are lost or need help, a simple bow and "thank you very much" or "arigatou gozaimasu" is all that is required. The Japanese themselves do not give gifts to every single person that gives them directions or helps them out, I dont see any reason why foreigners should do it too.

In fact in 4 years living here, I have never "gift traded" with anyone.

I have given gifts of course, for birthdays, special events and for very formal situations.

If you are coming over and staying with a host family, yes it is great to bring over some gifts as appreciation to the host family, something from your home country or town would be nice.
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

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