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Gifts for Hosts?

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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby irairashiteiru » Wed 05.10.2006 12:22 am

as keatonatron has accuratley outlined, there is a location dependant relationship with what your supposed to give people as Omiage.
If i were you (and im not) id would stay away from chocolates and other stuff that are normally sold in Japan anyway... Host families really appreciate something with meaning... something they can keep... but at the same time size is a problem when traveling... Im not american, but perhaps something Native American, or something related to your church (if you are so inclined), or local community... and stay away from disney stuff (they might love it but they can buy it here) I have been to Cali only once, so im not that familure with local culture.. but im sure you have something that is typically cali.
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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby Mukade » Wed 05.10.2006 1:15 am

Customs is only a problem with raw food and plants. Anything packaged is okay.

The food idea is good, as has been mentioned before, but in general, I've found that American sweets are WAAAYYYYY too sweet for the average Japanese palate. I don't know how many times I've tried to offer high-quality sweets only to see them scrunch up their face and offer the sweets on down the line (or, in worse case scenarios, make a face like their teeth are about to explode).

Other than the sweets, I've brought everything from American Indian pottery to calendars with pictures of tourist areas within the state. Refrigerator magnets with the state emblem, glasses and cups, beef jerkey, mini-American flags - even beer.

Yes, beer. I brought about 16 individual bottles of various micro-brews. I wondered if it would be a problem going through customs, but the guy in Japan lifted my bag, heard the glass clinking, and asked me what was inside. I said 'beer,' and he just waved me on through.

If you get arrested trying to do the same thing, though, don't blame me. I'm only recounting an anectode. ;)
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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby Oyaji » Wed 05.10.2006 9:59 am

Please keep in mind there is a ban on all beef and beef products from the US, including jerkey etc. because of the mad cow disease thing.
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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby keatonatron » Wed 05.10.2006 11:33 am

By perishables, I meant processed goods. Fruit would be a very bad idea (customs no-no). Like mukade said, straight up candy is too sweet, but things like potato chips or mild cookies would be alright.

Please keep in mind there is a ban on all beef and beef products from the US


When I first saw this I imagined him prancing through the airport holding a bundle wrapped in butchers paper dripping blood :D

"Do you have anything to declare?"
"Nope. Oh wait, I've got this fresh cow's liver for my host family. That's not a problem, is it?"

I can't imagine jerkey would be banned... how could the disease survive being cooked and sterilized?
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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby richvh » Wed 05.10.2006 11:45 am

keatonatron wrote:

I can't imagine jerkey would be banned... how could the disease survive being cooked and sterilized?


The prions that cause the disease (which are simply proteins) survive cooking unchanged.
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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby Mukade » Wed 05.10.2006 9:42 pm

I didn't think of that.

It wasn't an issue when I brought the jerky, since this was several years ago.

Obviously, since things change, it'd be a good idea to do your homework before bringing anything iffy.

Fruit, plants, meat products, porn...




Um...I meant corn... :o
Last edited by Mukade on Wed 05.10.2006 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby Youshen » Thu 05.11.2006 12:50 pm

Yeah, I figured I wouldn't bring anything perishable along with me, it's just too much of a headache. I'd rather get them a San Francisco magnet, but that seems too cheesy. I think the friends that I am going with and I will go to San Francisco to see what we can pick up. Some of you have said, don't pick up trinkets, and some of you have said pick up trinkets... haha... is there anything specific that the japanese love, but they can't easily get already?

Oh, and I totally understand about the sweets... in fact, almost all asians can't handle American sweets... not even ice cream or cake.... it's all way too sweet for them. Not even my american girlfriend (who's asian) likes american sweets. haha.

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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 05.12.2006 8:48 am

Txkun wrote:
As a sidenote,
giving your gift I think it would be nice if you follow some of these points. Your host family will surely appreciate that you are willing to know how to behave in their culture

http://zine375.eserver.org/zine1.html
http://www.tjf.or.jp/eng/ge/ge06wrap.htm


after all that time in Japan, and going back and forth, those two links are the most informative I think I have ever read.. and for once, I think I finally understand the reason for "perishable" gifts.. thanks txkun
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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 05.12.2006 8:51 am

you can take macadamia nuts.. they are normally indeginous of hawaii, but even I have brought them with me to offer and they have been received very well.

Youshen wrote:
Yeah, I figured I wouldn't bring anything perishable along with me, it's just too much of a headache. I'd rather get them a San Francisco magnet, but that seems too cheesy. I think the friends that I am going with and I will go to San Francisco to see what we can pick up. Some of you have said, don't pick up trinkets, and some of you have said pick up trinkets... haha... is there anything specific that the japanese love, but they can't easily get already?

Oh, and I totally understand about the sweets... in fact, almost all asians can't handle American sweets... not even ice cream or cake.... it's all way too sweet for them. Not even my american girlfriend (who's asian) likes american sweets. haha.

Youshen
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RE: Gifts for Hosts?

Postby nihongogakusei » Fri 05.19.2006 9:17 pm

[quote]nikoniko1975 wrote:

* Decorative collectors plates. I'm from Maryland, so there are lots of things with blue crabs and the Chesapeake Bay, all of which have been well-received.
* Old Bay seasoning. That's a local seafood seasoning which no one liked the flavor of, but the can itself became a popular conversation item.

Thanks for the ideas! I'm from Maryland too, and was actually looking for omiyage to give to my host family when I go to Japan this summer. The best I could come up with were some Terps T-shirts...
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