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Kyoto, Japan: How to reward a concierge?

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We don't leave for Japan until next month, but the concierge of our hotel in Kyoto (the Granvia) has already performed marvels for us. She (I think the name "Ayaka" is female--let me know if I'm wrong) has not only made dinner reservations for most nights of our two-week stay, including one extremely hard-to-get reservation, but she's gotten reservations for us to visit the Katsura Imperial Villa (she's sending a taxi to pick up the necessary papers) and tickets for the Kamagawa Odori in Gion. Some guidebooks say that in cases of special service, you should enclose money in a white envelope and slip it quietly to the concierge (but I'm not sure of an appropriate amount). My husband (who lived in Japan for a year or so decades ago) says I should buy a gift and present it beautifully wrapped. Great, but what gift? It needs to be American, but most red, white, and blue things are tacky. The Smithsonian (which is near us) has a nice scarf (Tiffany's View of Oyster Bay) and the Met in New York has a small (12 inch) umbrella with a stained glass butterfly design (also Tiffany-inspired). I think they're attractive, but the umbrella is a bit heavy for travel and not everyone wears scarves. And then there's the issue of wrapping--I can find nice paper, but I can't wrap to Japanese standards and if I could, it probably wouldn't survive a plane trip.

In short, I'd rather do cash, and a fairly decent amount (I was thinking ¥5,000 or so, more than either gift would cost; maybe that's still too low? After all, she'll be doing more for us during our stay.) But what do you think? And if you think I really should give a gift, does anyone have better ideas than mine?

People on this board know far more about Japanese culture than I do, so any advice would be appreciated.

Carolyn

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