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Should we gift son's host family? 2010/6/14 06:31
My teen son will be staying with a family for two weeks, and of course, he will bring gifts for them. The question I have, when we come to pick him up (we are not bringing him there, but will pick him up after traveling a week on our own), should we also bring a gift?
by rootles  

it's up to you 2010/6/14 14:23
Normally the rule of thumb is give gifts to the host family when they invite you in. So your son, being the one to stay there, should present his gifts. If you don't have a chance to say hi to the family beforehand, when you pick him up you should spend a little time and allow the family to thank you for the gifts your son brought. That should be enough, especially if it's gifts they can't beg, borrow or steal anywhere in Japan.

During your travels before picking your son up, it might be nice to pick up something extra for the host family. I don't think it'd be overkill to gift once more since it might just come off as the foreigner-style of gift giving they'd expect.
by jmarkley rate this post as useful

So a Japanese gift 2010/6/16 04:08
You think that would be fine (maybe the kind of wrapped food gifts the Japanese give each other), it doesn't need to be from our area?
by rootles rate this post as useful

. 2010/6/16 18:07
when you pick him up you should spend a little time and allow the family to thank you for the gifts your son brought.

I'm sure Jmarkley meant "when you pick him up you should spend a little time and allow yourself to thank the family for taking care of your son."


The golden rule is to bring a little something if you're meeting the receiver. If you're not meeting the family, but just meeting your son elsewhere, I wouldn't really think a gift would be necessary. But the host family might be nice enough to take your son to the meeting spot. You might want to keep a little something in your bag just in case you get to meet the family. Any touristical souvenior would be fine, I think.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

assumption 2010/6/17 08:08
I just assumed we would pick him up where they live, but it sounds like that would not be the expectation in Japan. Should we assume that we will arrange a neutral meeting place (like a train station or McDonalds)? We will be staying in a hotel downtown.
by rootles rate this post as useful

. 2010/6/17 09:22
Although it will be only 2 weeks, it is a good manner to go pick your son up, say hello and express your appreciation to the family. A token gift is not a must but welcome. I have noticed polite people do that regardless of nationality.
by Ikuyo Kuruyo (guest) rate this post as useful

I agree with Ikuyo Kuruyo 2010/6/17 10:12
Hi, again. I totally agree with Ikuyo Kuruyo. I just had assumed that Rootless might be picking his son up some place else, because if he is going to see the host family, I thought there would be no question other than to give them a small greeting token even if it were in say the U.S. But either way, in Japan you are expected to pick the child up at his host family's home as it would be a good opportunity to say thanks to them. Keep in mind, however, that the family will usually worry about treating you to a meal, so why not try to avoid meal time unless they insist.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

meals 2010/6/17 11:17
I did wonder about that (them feeling obligated to offer a meal). What times should we avoid, and how should we phrase it to avoid that situation? Thanks for your insight about this.
by rootles rate this post as useful

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