Presenting a Gift
When you are invited to someone's home in Japan, it is customary to bring a gift. If you happen to have brought gifts from your hometown (chocolates, July 4th celebration pins, and other souvenirs), they will be appreciated. If you do not have anything special on-hand, stop by the local grocery store and pick up some fruit or grab a bottle of wine.
Just a Little Something
When presenting a gift, even if you think it is the most wonderful, delicious thing in the world, you must downplay it with humble words. There is a phrase in polite Japanese that always accompanies the presentation of a gift:
Please accept this small token of my appreciation.
This phrase is extremely humble and is likely to make a great first impression. Note that
It's cold outside, but it's warm inside the house.
Gifts of money are usually prefaced with this statement, especially when the gift-giver feels that the amount is too low:
This is just a token of our appreciation.
Specific feelings can be expressed by pairing the word for “good” or “bad” with
Taking a bath feels good.
The smell of meat makes me feel sick.