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.

What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/19 19:12
Hello, i am going to meet my penpal for the first time in Japan in February. I have been to Japan before and i think it is customary to give a gift when visiting someones house. But i have no idea what sort of gifts Japanese people give each other. I would like to know what sort of gift i could give to her and her family that will really impress them! I welcome all suggestions.

Many thanks in advance!
by siclad  

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/21 08:23
We see some Japanese friends when we go over, associations from homestays etc. We are from Oz, so we took over some "Steve Parish" books about Oz and gave them as gifts, they were really well received. I always think give them something that they wont usually get in Japan.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/22 13:59
Food would be good and safe option. Things like honey, biscuits, tea etc. It's fairly generic but it's something people can use.

If they have young children maybe plush in Aust fauna.

Australia also has nice natural skin care products that you might be able to have a look at as well.
by peaches (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/23 15:46
Yes i think things like chocolate have been a popular gift, especially cabury and favourites. Their family is a
26 year old guy, 29 year old girl and their mum. Do Japanese people accept bottles of scotch or something like that as house gifts? I am staying with them for 12 days so I would like to spend a decent amount of money to show my appreciation! Thank you for your suggestions everyone! I am looking forward to more ideas!
by siclad rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/24 15:56
Hi there,
Chocolate, candy, etc would be surely a safe choice. If you could already ask your penpal, if their family likes to drink, strong alchol gif would be really apreciated. If you join drinking together, even better.

What is most important is to spend good time together, and sending photo book later could be nice.
by mentama rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/24 16:49
what age are the household members?

Food & drink & other things that won't make clutter are preferable in general. Nice jam, chocolates, alcohol. Beef jerky (no prob. from Aus)

Some Japanese are quite intolerant to alcohol physically, it'd be worth checking.

A clutter present that I have given that is quite good are the Australia Fine China coffee cups. Nice quality, not so expensive, pretty designs. Depending on people t-shirts may be ok - but that can start to get expensive. Socks are also easy non clutter.

I wouldn't give a book personally.
by girltokyo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/24 16:54
Gomen I didn't see the ages, and I am not sure that you are from Aus.

Nice handcream, afore mentioned alcohol, scarf,

Things that are elegant.
by girltokyo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/24 21:21
haha yes i am from Aus! Thank you heaps everyone! Some really great ideas! Yes i will find out if she likes to drink and what they prefer to have.
Just another question. Is it best to give the gifts when i first meet them or should i wait until the end, or can i just give it to them whenever??

Many thanks to everyone so far!!
by siclad rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/25 12:57
Well, for your other question, I heeard that you should give it in the beginning but I'm not sure.
by Alexis Dzink rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/25 16:45
It'll be nicer to give it to them at the beginning.

Alcohol sounds good too, but it depends whether they drink much as someone above mentioned.
by peaches (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/26 06:34
At the beginning.
And you will get presents back from them I am sure, and I've resigned myself to the fact that I will never win an East Asian present war.

I probably wouldn't get whiskey for a older woman. (even though that's absurdly sexist).
by girltokyo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2011/12/26 11:00
Thank you so much to everyone who gave ideas to my questions! I feel a lot more confident about selecting the right gifts for them now and also when to give them the gifts. I hope i can make a really nice impression towards them!
Thank you again!
by siclad rate this post as useful

Re: What's a nice gift for a Japanese family? 2012/1/20 04:01
You should give the gift first. It is very inportant to do it in the most respectful and polite way. The first meeting and giving of a gift will start you off for a good start with them or will make them have the wrong idea about you. Yes something very different and that doesnt cause clutter is the best because if you dont know Japan is very small and most of the houses are very very small. The best thing to do is to get gifts for each person.
For the Father (otosan) it is good to give a type of Strong beer or fine spirit. Make sure it looks like it was a lot but it doesnt need to be. The way it looks is mainly the key. Ask what he enjoys most and try to find something that looks enjoyable to the eye. Japanese like things that look nice and look like they cost a lot. If he doesnt drink find out what he enjoys. If he loves fishing buy something that he could use and that is different. Also keep in mind the clutter fact. Whatever he may like it is important that you get something very different that he will enjoy.
For mothers (Okasan) get something very elegant and beautiful, keep the clutter thing in mind at all times. Something like a fine piece of jewelry that is only found in Aus would be will like or a beautiful scarf or even something that smells good like lotions or body washes. I personally would not use beauty produces because the fact that you may make her feel that you think she needs to improve her looks or that she is old. You dont want to make her feel that way and it would make her feel that you think less of her to give that to her when you gave something that they like but gave her something to improve her looks. I maybe in correct about that but I know if I had someone give me something that was to make me look young and gave my husband something that he really loved or my children something they loved I would feel that you were trying to win them over and was trying to be rude to me thinking I look old and and enjoy other things. Find out what she enjoys most and get something that she will really enjoy.
For the Kids, it all depend on what they enjoy yet again ask what they are into and pick something fun, please note that if they are very young DONT get loud annoying toys, this would not make the parents happy because then they will have to heard that toy all the time and they will get very annoyed with it and the fact you gave it to them. I think something different that they would enjoy is always a good thing. Yes the normal things are always good, but it wont wow them. If everyone gives candies and the normal they will just think you read that all Japanese enjoy that. They wont be upset by the gift, they will still enjoy it but it wont wow them. Japanese people love things they enjoy but that they have never seen before. So getting gifts that are in the field of things they really enjoy but are things of that are very different for the things they have or seen will impress them because it will some you take intrest in each and everyone of their likes and that you spent a lot of time picking something very meaningful.
When giving them the gifts, enter the house and remember to remove your shoes. Then come in only a little and greet her parents first, bow very low and very long. This shows you have a lot of respect for them and that you are very gratful to be invited to their home and country. Then great the kids starting with who is oldest and this bow, if they are younger then you doesnt need to be more then a small bend because you are older and more important they will reply with a deeper more respectful bow. Make sure to learn polite Japanese welcoming and thanks. Thank her parents very poilty and introduce yourself. Once in sit dont on the floor or wherever everyone else is sitting. If sitting on the floor please at first try to sit on you knees the polite way until after giving the gifts. If sitting in chairs or other wise stand to give the gift. If they however are sitting down it would be best to put the gift on the floor and give them to them from there. If you are stand and they are not it will not really seem right because is coming from above them. If they are standing as well then there is no problem. Once you gave figured the way to stand or sit when giving the gift it is now time to give the gift. If on the floor hold the gift in both hand and bow low to the parents and you give the gift. Start with the father for he is the head of house and is to be respect as the head and first. Bow low and give the gift and make sure to say something like.."Thank you for welcoming me" or "Please accept this gift for your kindness." Do the same same for the mother and then less bow for the kids starting from oldest to youngest. After they have gotten their gift they may not open it because some believe it rude. Dont make them open it if they decide not to. Unlike other places a lot of Japanese find it rude to open a gift that is wrapped in front of the person. If you give it unwrapped or if you put it in a bag and pull it out and give it them it is better. That way you can see the joy they have for the gift like you would see from someone opening it. This also allows for the gift to be enjoyed right away like drinks or toys ect. Also yes once you give a gift they will repay you with one in return. It will alway be more amazing then the gift you give, dont feel bad that your gift ways less amazing or cost less....its always that way and you can never top a Japanese in gift giving so dont try to do a gift battle you will lose always. If they give you gift that are wrapped dont open it right there unless they say and when opening it dont rip it open like you did as a kid on x-mas or your birthday. Take great care and open it gift mindfully. If the gift isnt wrapped show your joy for the gift weather you like it or not. If they dont say to unwrap a wrapped gift thank them deeply (with bows as well) and open the gift later when you are alone. If you open it later when they are not around make sure to show your joy for the gift. If its food or drink share it and show that you enjoy it weather or not you do. If you look like you dont enjoy it or say something rude about it you will come off very rude and disrespectful. I hope this will help you and everyone else. Ja
by Yume (guest) rate this post as useful

reply to this thread