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Host Family Gifts? I need ideas, please.

#1 User is offline   richan 

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Post icon  Posted 03 June 2008 - 07:40 PM

So, this summer, I'm going to Japan. I will be staying with a family with a 15-year-old daughter and her parents. They live in a small town that's pretty far south, around 2 hours or so from Osaka. I was wondereing what you guys would think of as good gift ideas I could bring. Thank you! ^_^

#2 User is offline   sentinel28a 

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 07:57 PM

View Postrichan, on Jun 4 2008, 01:40 AM, said:

So, this summer, I'm going to Japan. I will be staying with a family with a 15-year-old daughter and her parents. They live in a small town that's pretty far south, around 2 hours or so from Osaka. I was wondereing what you guys would think of as good gift ideas I could bring. Thank you! ^_^


Where are you from? A gift from your local town or state would probably go over well. Or something uniquely American.

Just don't get them liquor. My family made that mistake in Germany. You'd think that the Germans would enjoy a good drink, but people in the Rheinland just weren't used to tequila.

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#3 User is offline   richan 

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:00 PM

Oh Yeah! I'm from Wisconsin, near Milwaukee

This post has been edited by richan: 03 June 2008 - 08:01 PM


#4 User is offline   sentinel28a 

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:03 PM

View Postrichan, on Jun 4 2008, 02:00 AM, said:

Oh Yeah! I'm from Wisconsin, near Milwaukee


Maybe some Wisconsin souvenirs, then--or cheese, if it'll keep until then.

I'm expecting a phone call from a buddy of mine, who's also from Wisconsin and went to Japan for a few months. I'll ask him what he gave his host family.

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#5 User is offline   Kasin 

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:05 PM

CHEESE
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#6 User is offline   richan 

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:12 PM

hmmm. I don't thing cheese would work too well.....especially if it started to smell....i think i also heard that they are really strict about bringing certain foods in your luggage at some airports. If I had a guy, it would be a lot easier, a Brewers baseball cap or Jersey or something. Wait, maybe i should get that for the dad. Or is that too childish?

Oh, and thank you, sentinal28a, for asking!

This post has been edited by richan: 03 June 2008 - 08:21 PM


#7 User is offline   S1NN3R 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 07:50 PM

A cap or jersey would do fine for any guy, but for the females in the family; think of something a gal would like from japan and bring the american equivlent(sp?) to them.

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#8 User is offline   Smalls 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 08:59 PM

View PostSinner, on Jun 4 2008, 08:50 PM, said:

A cap or jersey would do fine for any guy, but for the females in the family; think of something a gal would like from japan and bring the american equivlent(sp?) to them.

I actually know a TON of girls in Chicago who love the Cubs and wear Cubs jerseys on a regular basis. Same for girls who like the Bears. Jerseys aren't just a guy thing anymore.

They do make women's cut jerseys these days as well as guy cut ones.

What about some sort of candy we have but they don't have?
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#9 User is offline   Kuroi Yokan 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 09:17 PM

Oh cool, what's the name of your town? I also stayed in a small town a couple of hours south of Osaka. Wondering if I've heard of it. =D

As for gifts, your best bet is to get something from your area. For example, I got some gifts from a local country-ish store since I'm from Indiana, lol. I got them one of those stained glass window decorations, and they liked that. (I forget what else...it was a while ago, lol) Anything that they couldn't get in Japan will make for a nice gift though. They really like stuff like that. So think America-only and something you think would appeal to their ages, and I'm sure they'll love it. And maybe you can even find something that would allow you to tell some back-story to explain why it's popular or why it's famous etc. Makes for an ice-breaker. ^_^

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#10 User is offline   sentinel28a 

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 09:58 PM

I'm kind of partial to the Brewers stuff, at least for the guys...baseball is HUGE in Japan, and it might be a good way to break the ice: talk about something universal!

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#11 User is offline   richan 

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 03:26 PM

The town i'm staying at is called Shingu.

#12 User is offline   KusanagiRobin 

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 07:19 PM

Oh!! I went to Japan two years ago and had to live with a host family for one weekend. Oh, I wish I could do that again, that was so much fun! :D

Like most ppl are saying, souvenirs from your hometown are great and are usually the first choice. Most ppl in the group I traveled with were from Michigan (me included) so we gave them things like mini photo-albums showing our hometowns or landmarks like the Mackinaw Bridge, or those tourist-y shirts with "Michigan" all over it or something like that. For some reason, I also gave scented candles; my family loved those.

Some other tips (though you may already know):

--Don't give any gifts that come in four-packs; 4 is an unlucky number in Japan.
--They may give gifts to YOU, as just the whole idea of gift-giving in Japan is a big deal. I REALLY didn't expect anything, and yet I got two fans (one a wooden one with the Japan flag on it (they told me it was good luck))and three pairs of chopsticks. O.o
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Posted 08 June 2008 - 09:10 PM

Shingu huh? I haven't heard of that town, but I have a friend from Wakayama that's staying with me right now actually lol and she said she knows of that town, or at least, knows where it is. After looking it up I see WHY I hadn't heard of it. I lived closer to Wakayama city (the majority of the time). I only went south one time. :( I bet Shingu will be really pretty though. It looks like it's RIGHT by the ocean, so that could be nice. =D

But yeah, good luck with your gift-hunting, and most importantly, take a ton of pictures and have fun!!

(My suggestion - bring them a cheese head! LOL xD)
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#14 User is offline   richan 

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 11:53 AM

Thanks for going through the trouble of helping me, guys! Thank you! XD Shingu is supposed to be a pretty old town, too, so that should be exciting!

This post has been edited by richan: 16 June 2008 - 11:54 AM


#15 User is offline   The Puppeteer 

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 03:43 PM

do you know how well they speak/read english?

when my japanese teacher hosted a teacher from japan the teacher from japan wanted to bring them a gift and my teacher asked for a book off the japanese bestseller list. (they ended up with 4)

that is a truly american gift, and it would be quite easy to buy.


but i like the idea of something from where you live.
maybe a cheese head hat?
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#16 User is offline   audaciouska241 

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 10:16 PM

I think that no matter what you bring them, it's not like they're going to necessarily have it over there, so most of your choices will be unique anyways.

I'd say get something nice for the house for the parents. And for the girl, maybe something cutesy, like a stuffed animal or something. I don't think they have a Build A Bear workshop in Japan. Can't go wrong with a teddy bear, no matter what age they are.

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:57 AM

When I was living in Japan this past fall I stayed with a host family for a weekend. I ended up getting the family some stuff from my University. I got them some pens, pins, a mug from my University. I also got them some local coffee.

I had more things with me that I brought but I saved some of those for other occasions. I was able to get a nice t-shirt from my University for $7.

If you are in College then I think items from there making really good gifts. If you aren't than just something special to your area is always nice. Maybe a mug with your city on it or something like that.

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#18 User is offline   richan 

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:29 PM

Supposedly, the daughter speaks very good english and loves to speak it (i know it sounds bad, but i kind of wish she didnt because i wanted to work on my Japanese) I think a book would be agreat idea, though!

#19 User is offline   simonsaz3 

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:58 PM

How about one of those crafty notebook sets with the pencils and cute notebook/pads with all the paper? I know you said she's 15 years old, but I think it'd be a great gift to give. Or perhaps a scrap-booking kit.
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