The Gifted Blog

April 23, 2010

Gift Exchange in Japan

As you may know, we traveled to Japan recently with family, and I am blogging about it here on The Gifted Blog! For more posts about our trip and Japanese culture, click here.

Our first few days in Japan were spent in Tokyo, sightseeing with my sister, brother-in-law and our Japanese friends. After meeting up for a fresh sushi breakfast, we had the pleasure of visiting our friends' home in a Tokyo suburb.

After navigating the densely packed masses of the city and dodging motorized vehicles at Tsukiji fish market, it was a breath of fresh air to relax in their apartment.

The kids played, and G. got some tips on Kyoto sightseeing from S.

We got a chance to exchange and open gifts. The girls modeled their headbands and were photographed (with varying degrees of compliance).

Kawaii ne! (Cute, aren't they?)

We received an assortment of favorite Japanese foods and ingredients, presented in a cheerful bag.* Counterclockwise, from the hexagonal box: chocolate koala cookies, dashi bags (like tea bags, but for soup stock!), sea salt, furikake sprinkles and shichimi spice. Mmm.

I tried to get some artful shots back at the hotel. However, sharing a room with a toddler means having an uninvited prop stylist at every photo shoot. What can I say?

We ended our time together with a wonderful meal (for everyone) and snooze (for one of us).

Good times.

Thank you, friends, for having us! It was a treat to come visit you.

*I was a little surprised to see this on Wikipedia (emphasis mine): "It is considered impolite to go to someone's house without a gift...A gift is usually brought in a paper bag (preferably a bag from the shop where you bought the gift) and is taken out of the bag, which is placed underneath the gift when giving it to the host, using both hands."

Even though the description reflects our friends' gift wrapping, I guess I have some romanticized ideas about how Japanese people wrap gifts. (Japanese readers, any thoughts? Is this how most gifts are given these days?)


  1. I've been following those gorgeous little flower headbands you made, and now they are perfectly placed on some pretty little faces! They look gorgeous Charissa. I feel inspired to make something similar myself!

    Thank you for blogging about Japanese culture also. It's so interesting to read about! :-)

  2. Hi Chelsea -
    Go for it! With your cupcake toppers and hand-painted gift wrap, you are on a roll with gifts for little people. : )

  3. Yeah, it was really great to have you guys at our home!! And, I've never known about the "rule" for gifts....That seems complicated. The most important element with gifts is the same, your love! We felt your love so much. Thank you, Charissa.

  4. Makiko!
    It's good to get your perspective. It's difficult to know what things are really like, so I appreciate your first-hand observations!

    P.S. We felt your love, too. : )


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