Need a gift from Japan

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Feb 21st, 2011, 02:50 PM
  #1
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Need a gift from Japan

I need a gift from Japan for a businessman and I really don't know what I to buy. Any advice of what Japanese handicrafts might be appreciated by an American business man? On recent trips to Tokyo I have been disappointed with the selection and quality of the souvenirs (have browsed in Oriental Bazaar, Akakusa, etc). I am visiting Hiroshima, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Takayama and Tokyo and I'd like some suggestions from fodorites what gift to buy.

Thanks.
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Feb 21st, 2011, 04:04 PM
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Generally speaking I found the selection of gifts/souvenirs at Kanazawa to be much better than elsewhere in Japan. There appeared to be a lot more 'one off' items as compared to the mass produced (although they were there as well).

There were a number of shops in the Higashi Chaya District that we enjoyed browsing through but I don't know their names and, of course, there is also the famous Hakuza Gold Leaf Store. I would be surprised if you couldn't find something there suitable for a businessman. I also recall another shop in the heart of the Nagamachi (samurai) district that we particularly enjoyed.

I know not having the names of any of them isn't a great help but we were amongst the well trodden tourist path so I am sure you will come across some of them as well.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:36 AM
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I also thought Asakusa was kind of kitchy.

I bought most souvenirs from Kyoto. However, the gift for men depends on the person. Here are some possibilities. Try to find out what may be appreciated by the person. I don't think there is an universal item. Don't be surprised by the sticker. When you cross over to the business gift category, they are meant to impress the recipient.

Traditional:
- Folding fans. The street leading to Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto is lined with gift shops. Some kitchy, some quite good. I have also bought some on Shijodori street.
- Lacquerware products. If a person cannot tell the difference between the plastic and the lacquerware, don't bother.
- Nishijin-ori fabric products from Kyoto. Small to large items.

Not handcraft, but practical:
- Models of many products not sold outside Japan.
- Umbrella. Japanese umbrellas use super light, high strength components with well engineered mechanisms. I always pick up one in Japan. They are quite expensive, however.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:04 AM
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Try looking for a Tokyu Hands store. If you can't find something there for him then your really not looking,lol

http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/en/index.html

Aloha!
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 01:05 PM
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I saw better quality goods in Kyoto and Kanazawa than in Tokyo, which probably just means they were easier to find in those locations. I found some hand woven/hand painted ties for some of the men on my shopping list.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 01:52 PM
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it depends what your budget is, what you want to buy, who you buy it for, etc ...
YOu can buy sake and loads of Japanse sweet and food and tea and ... (better not buy and take sushi, by the time you are at home your fish might be flying).
Japan has nice kitchenware, kitchen knives, loads of electrical stuff, porcelain, bonsai, etc ... Even some Japanese female are for sale to take to your country ...
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 06:06 PM
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Thank you for replies.

I was going to buy a bottle of sake as part of the gift and I'd like to add something else to the gift. I was thinking, if not something from Japan, maybe crystal. How does sake and a crystal vase sound? I really don't want to travel to Japan and find nothing suitable as I need to give the gift toward the end of my trip before I return home.

My budget would be US$100, plus the cost of the sake. What brand(s) of sake do fodorites recommend? As for food items I too had thought of sweets, but I'm not sure if the business man has allegies, as I do not know him well.

Thanks.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 06:15 PM
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Yoshinogawa

Its a brand of sake that the famed sake connoisseur kuranosuke introduced me to. Real good stuff at about $40.00 a bottle found in the Mitsukoshi or Matsuya stores on the Ginza.

Aloha!
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 06:30 PM
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Not quite as good as a bottle of sake and a handmade sake set (pottery decanter and five matching cups). Available in Kyoto on the route up to Kiyomizu.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 06:35 PM
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Hawaiiantraveler, thank you for the recommendation, I'll definitely visit Maksuya and Mitsukoshi in Ginza. Diamaru, too, I am looking forward to going back to Japan, it's been a while since my last visit.

WillJame, good point, but I don't think he'll drink too much sake after the bottle I give him is finished.

I'd like to give an item that is useful around the house.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 06:39 PM
  #11
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I think I made a mistake, it's Matsuzakaya in Ginza, not Diamaru. And, who could forget Wako or Takashimaya!
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 05:51 AM
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I don't think Japan is known for its crystal.

If you want something useful around the house, here is my experience with the most useful household item I have bought in Japan. There is a seller at the Toji market (happens the 25th of every month at Toji Temple grounds) who makes and sells incredibly crafted beautiful wooden spoons and wooden kitchen impliments. All kinds of wood, all sizes, from spoons to stir soups to small and large ladles. These are unique and totally handcrafted. I have about 8 of these items in a ceramic crock on my kitchen counter (I bought the crock also at Toji market) and use them every day.

A friend of mine went to Toji market a few wks. ago and told me the same man is still there, selling his handmade wooden items.

Alternatively, you can go to a nice tea shop (there is a great one in Kyoto) and buy a nice Japanese tea pot and some high quality teas. And get some great traditional sweets to go along w/it. And get him the bottle of sake also. That is a very Japanese gift.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 05:59 AM
  #13
 
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ccmelk, that is a totally bizarre comment to say that "there are Japanese female for sale to take to your country."

What kind of person are you to make that comment here? It isn't funny. And if you meant it to be true, you really don't belong on this board.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:13 AM
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I wasn't clear enough in my last post, I meant a crystal vase bought from outside Japan. Just wondering if the vase and sake would be appreciated. The reason I ask is because I need to buy the item and travel with it before I leave home later this week, if not, then I would have to buy something in Japan. Teas and a tea pot, gold leaf handicrafts, folding fans or emanmel handicrafts is what I would be looking for. Like I said in my op, I don't know what is available outside Tokyo, and I appreciate the helpful replies on this thread. I'll start a thread in the lounge about the vase and see what fodorites have to say.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:25 AM
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I would very much enjoy the handmade Japanese sake set (two cups enough) from WillJame. Double the enjoyment if I knew its origin ... Hagi-yaki or from Saga-ken. And, for me, the bottle of sake would be entirely optional. If it was a small bottle and I could enjoy it with WillJame with the set he gave me then I might go for it.

While imbibing, I would have WillJame explain how he got a bottle of liquid past the TSA (got it at NRT and didn't connect in the US? or isn't there a way to carry a bottle of wine and have it scanned to have it approved to take on the flight?).

I have had hundreds of opportunities in my life to buy a crystal vase for myself and have not bit yet. That would probably be re-gifted, donated, or just put into a storage closet.

I would also enjoy a Japanese vase or other pottery (of known origin), But the sake set is kind of more of a guy thing.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:30 AM
  #16
 
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You will be stepping in very deep and murky fluids if you bring a gift to someone in Japan. If you do so, you may well be putting the recipient in a situation where, by culture and custom, he/she will be compelled to provide you with a gift of similar value. And you could cause the recipient to lose face by not having such a gift for you when you give yours.

If you are serious, you would need to hire an expert in Japanese business relations to guide you through the maze that is the Japanese way of doing things. Seems to me that the OP would do extremely well to offer no gift (and especially not one of value), unless he's specifically been instructed to do so by a Japanese business relations pro.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:34 AM
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A small box of mochi would beat a crystal vase from Macy's. I do actually own a vase and has never held flowers, but it is a special thing because it is Hagi-yaki.

If the businessman is Japanese, then definitely a box of mochi with whatever you get.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:40 AM
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rizz, she(or he) needs the gift to bring home for an American business man not take to Japan for a Japanese business man as I understand it.

Aloha!
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:40 AM
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I thought this thread was about bring a gift back from Japan to a businessman not in Japan (and probbaly not Japanese?).
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 09:01 AM
  #20
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The gift is to be given in the US to an American businessman.
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