Well....I did something very Japanese the other day. I went to our local shopping mall and they are all set up with a gift giving section (it is a gift giving season here too...not Christmas but end of year gift giving time!) so my honey and I bought and paid to have delivered a box of canned beer for his dad and a box of sweets for his mom.
There many things to choose from....fish, coffee (nothing special...just regular coffee from the supermarket in a box and 2x the price!), boxes of oil (nothing says I love you like a box of cooking oil!! ^__^) but it was easy to pick out sweets and beer. It felt so weird sitting down and filling out the forms, answering questions about the wrapping (we choose "eco" wrapping btw-"eco" meaning environmentally friendly). The box of beer cost about $35 and the sweets cost about $30. I'm thinking they will be happy!
Speaking of "eco".... as I stated above "eco" means "environmentally friendly". In the same vein as "eco" is "my bag". "My bag" (literally spoken in English by Japanese) means any bag you bring yourself to use instead of store bag. We happen to have (thanks to my friend Clarie) Whole Foods recycled bags. The other day the taxi driver saw us with all these blue Whole Foods bags and said "ahh....my bag". Of course he didn't mean "his" bag but it was confusing when I first started hearing the words "my bag". I had a student write about it a few years ago. The title of her story was "my bag boom". Honestly, I thought she was talking about one of her bags exploding!!! I had to have my boss explain it to me!!