Japanese Protocol

May 3rd, 2004, 09:41 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 74
Japanese Protocol

We will be in Japan on business, and they will have a corporate staff member/ guide with us to escort us from place to place over several days. This is a new experience for us, and we don't want to offend the Japanese customs.
Do we give the guide a gift (omiyage)? When?
Do we offer to include the guide in meals?
Please let me know what to expect.
(We will be in Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, and Sapporo).
Cee is offline  
May 3rd, 2004, 10:16 AM
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> Do we give the guide a gift (omiyage)?

That would be a very nice gesture.

> When?
Whenever you want but the most appropriate seems to me to be at the very first time you meet him/her.

> Do we offer to include the guide in meals?

Yes. As you say he/she is not a professional guide but a corporate staff, it would be inappropriate to tip him/her but offering meals would be another nice gesture.
kappa is offline  
May 3rd, 2004, 09:34 PM
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What value of gift would be appropriate for the guide? I have read that too expensive a gift is just as inappropriate as no gift at all. I have been thinking of taking: very nice pens (Waterman), boxes of See's candy, packaged dried fruits from California. Should I up the $$value?
Cee is offline  
May 3rd, 2004, 10:02 PM
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A single gift may be more appropriate than a few smaller things....but if your staff member/guide has a wife and kids, something for each of them might be a nice gesture.

You are right about a too expensive gift being inappropriate...but not expensive enough is also inappropriate. This staff member is doing you a great service and will feel great responsibility to ensure you enjoy your time and get from place to place without any trouble whatsoever. Your restaurants and meals may well be already chosen for you...it happens quite frequently.

Like the previous poster said, giving the gift right at the beginning is most appropriate. Including him/her in meals - it is assumed you will dine together at least for lunch if you spend the day together, and perhaps with a group of business assosiates for dinner at a fancy restaurant.

Brand name and designer goods are always a good choice. A nice designer label necktie for a man, a designer handkerchief for a woman. Princess goods by Disney are hugely popular here with girls, and boys love Ultraman (for young kids). Older children might appreciate food items more...the candy you mentioned. Kids of all ages like cute note paper, interesting pencils and sparkle ink pens. Dried fruits might be nice, but many people here just don't care for them...find them too hard and too sweet. Smoked salmon (the Seattle kind) has been lovved by everyone I've given it too. Some kind of packaged food from a small local producer with an interesting label would be nice.

Be sure to wrap the gifts nicely...it's very important in Japan that the gift be wrapped, usually in the signature paper of the high end department store where you bought the gift. If you can get the store in the states to wrap the gift for you it would be good.

In the end, what the gift actually is matters a bit less than how it was presented and wrapped really, and the simple gesture of giving a gift is important. Money value...it's relative...yesterday I bought two gifts...one was $10.00 cookie tin for a neighbor who fed my daughter lunch together with her own kids (kind of an obligation gift...a bit more than thnak you was required as I don't know the other mom well). And I bought a $50.00 tin of assorted cookies for the mom who gave me copies of the DVD she made from our kids kindergarten graduation and elementary school entrance ceremonies. For someone who would take care of me for a couple of days, I might spend up to $200.00...and I would not spend any less than $50.00.


KimJapan is offline  
May 4th, 2004, 10:33 PM
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Thank you! I will need extra luggage for all the gifts!
Cee is offline  
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