Japan: How to Exchange Gifts

On my way to the bus stop this past weekend, I stumbled accross a group of 30 or so Bangladeshis celebrating the Indain New Year. They had tables filled with curry based delacacies, and even better, they seemed quite welcoming to those interested in their cultural gathering... I never got on that bus.
I spent the entire afternoon rocking in the new year (for a second time). They sang, they played music, and best of all, we ate.
Somewhere in the midst of it all, they played a gift selection game with the children. This got my mind turning.

In Japan, the custom is to not open the gifts you recieve until you get home. And if the pary is at your house, you are to wait for all of the guests to leave.
Compare this to the US, or just about anywhere in the West. We tear open presents as soon as we have our hands on them.
Imagine though, if you turned a 'White Elephant'/ 'Chinese' Gift Exchange into a 'Japanese' Gift Exchange.

All of the same rules apply:
1) Everyone brings a wrapped gift.
2) Honor System: You are not to select your own gift.
3) One at a time, participants select a gift (either):
A) From the pile of gifts.
B) Held by another participant.
But the Japanese Twist:
4) No gifts are to be unwrapped until participants return home.

So instead of:
I knew I should have taken Ryan's Gift.
It'll be more like this:
I bet Dwight got a Chia pet or something. A Snuggie is actually kind of useful.

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Location: Japan, Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai, Aoba Ward, Shiheimachi, 17−3


  1. Proud of you. Why call yourself a foreign exchange student if youre not going to exchange something.

  2. Ideas are my currency. A conversation is my price.


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