Gifts for Japanese Exchange Students

Written by amy mcnulty
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Gifts for Japanese Exchange Students
When welcoming a Japanese exchange student into your home, you may want to give a gift. (Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Hosting a Japanese exchange student not only allows the student to experience your culture but also provides you with the opportunity to learn more about hers. Whether the gift is one of welcome, to say goodbye or for a birthday or holiday, you need to consider the art of gift-giving in Japanese culture. While you don't necessarily need to give a Japanese gift to the student, you should consider gifts that show you're learning about Japanese culture.

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Food Basket

A popular gift in Japanese culture is food, particularly the gourmet variety. The Japanese regard food as an excellent gift choice because they can consume it and it won't take up any space. A gift of food also allows them to sample gourmet food or food unique to a certain region that they may not have the opportunity to eat. If your part of the country is known for a specific food -- cheese or oranges, for example -- choose a food basket with this in mind. With a large gift basket, the Japanese exchange student can share it with her friends and family, which is another important aspect of Japanese gift-giving.

Local Souvenir

Another popular type of gift for a Japanese exchange student is a souvenir from a place he's been to. After spending so much time in your area, the Japanese exchange student will enjoy having a small souvenir to remember his time in your city. Opt for an item famous or unique to your area over a mug or keychain with the city's name on it, such as a model cable car for San Francisco. A book with images of renowned landmarks in your area makes a great gift as well. Choose a small, but not inexpensive, gift, as the Japanese value gifts of high quality. If you are shopping for a farewell gift, consider giving enough souvenirs for all of the members in your exchange student's family. Gifts in Japanese culture are generally shared with family members.

Brand-name Fashion Accessory

Fashion is popular for the most part with both girls and boys in Japan. Japanese teenagers and young adults especially enjoy clothing and fashion accessories with a brand-name label. Since you can't account for an individual student's taste or size when it comes to clothing, you can try giving a fashion accessory, such as a hat, scarf, wallet or handbag. Opt for a fashion label famous in your country.

Framed Photograph

Giving the exchange student a quality framed photograph of a cherished memory from her time with you is another gift idea that the exchange student will surely appreciate. Framed photos are popular gifts in Japanese business and cultural gift exchanges. The student will also appreciate a relatively lightweight and thin gift that won't take up much room in her suitcase when she returns home.

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