Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | October 9, 2009

Only in Japan Moment #1: A Gift for the Teacher

This past week, we celebrated the birthday of one of my students at school. I thought I might share the unique nature of these celebrations at our school.

First off, I usually get a call a week or two before the big day from the student’s mother. That’s always nice. Then, the day of the party I see a smallish uniform-clad boy walking down the hall towards our classroom with two or three huge shopping bags full of goodies.

Generally, each student will receive a beautifully wrapped treat from the ritzy food market at the local “Takashimaya.” Then comes Round 2. Although we’re celebrating the birthday of one particular child. His parents buy every other child in the class several small gifts and put them in cute little clear bags. Toys, cookies, gift cards, who knows, they get it all.

I estimate that each student probably receives $10.00 in gifts and a $5.00 treat. So, fifteen bucks a kid for 22 kids, and you’re talking a few hundred dollars!!!

PLUS, you have to add the unique teacher gift that varies from a larger treat and a card at the least, to full-blown wonderful gifts at the most. This week, I received a gorgeous handkerchief from Ralph Lauren. Usually, I wash my hands and remember that most Tokyo bathrooms don’t have paper towels or air dryers. But no more. Now I dry my hands in style. Polo style.

Bling Bling Handkerchief



  1. Very nice gift!!

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