Help, need gift ideas to send Asian relatives

  1. Every year, I run into the same problem when trying to send gifts to my relatives in Japan - ages 50's to 90's.

    First, most of the most interesting things here in the US are Made in China, which just doesn't make sense since they import from China more than we do since the 2 countries are much closer as well so its almost impolite.

    Second, the cost of sending things overseas has become sooo expensive and they base it on size as well as weight so whatever I send has to be fairly small and lightweight. Candles, soaps are just too heavy.

    Third, Japan probably has more stuff from around the world than even the US so most everything sold here is already available there. Also, I'm on a budget so postage alone will run close to a hundred altogether.

    Fourth, they are old and don't speak English....

    Any ideas? I need a formula...:confused1:
  2. How about doing a search on Etsy for sellers who actually LIVE in Japan. That way they could send directly to them. There are TONS of great sellers on Etsy and I just purchased an item from a Japanese lady in California. Most Etsy sellers don't mind shipping overseas and most have reasonable shipping prices.
  3. Thanks Casto but I don't think you got my meaning, I need things that are Made in the USA or only readily available in the US that a Japanese would not easily be able to get.

    Etsy seems to be a Japanese website catering to Westerners looking for Asian things so it's the exact opposite of what I'm looking for.

    Also, my relatives are old men and ladies who are fairly wealthy - with tons of grown kids who supply them with everything they need they don't already have themselves.

    Here's a whole website of things still made in the US...not sure if it will help, but just thought you could use it as a "reference" Good luck!
  5. I have the same problem, my grandmother is pretty insistent that the gifts I send back should not be made in any Asian countries. She seems to be ok with stuff made in European countries though. I just finished my shopping, and the bulk of it is cosmetics, but those are pretty heavy. In looking at my inventory, I think scarves and chocolate might fit your criteria.
  6. Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you wanted something not made in China mass produced.

    Etsy is many people all over the world so there are a LOT of things on there that are made in the US. There is gorgeous jewelry, pottery, clothing...pretty much anything.

    There are some amazing artisans who create scarves -

    Cashmere Silk Handwoven Scarf

    An Unusual Handcrafted Artisan Lampwork Glass Necklace

    Gorgeous Handcrafted Turquoise Pen (he also has Malachite, wood, and other stones)

    Not sure of your budget - 18k Rutilated Quartz and Pearl Earrings

    I think getting handcrafted artisan gifts are great for people who have everything that they need. :smile:
  7. My relatives in Asia always asks for nuts (pecans, cashews, peanuts etc), vitamins or chocolates (Ferro Rocher). These items are apparently much pricier in Asia.
  8. Aahh, my relatives in Hong Kong love Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

    I think organic or natural ingredient based products are gaining a lot of popularity in Asia so how about some natural or organic lotion or shampoo? Elderly women seem to like lotion a lot. Or how about Burt's Bees products?
  9. Wow, thanks everyone for so many great ideas.:yes:

    I have seen Ferrero Rocher at Asian supermarkets so I assumed they were popular but I didn't know about the price difference. Same with the nuts thing. I'm personally into Latin American(?) chocolates with chile pepper myself.

    Mystiletto, I was surprised about the vitamins, never even thought of that - is there any type or brands that I should consider? Are vitamins not of the same quality over there?

    Senbei, thanks for the lotion suggestion, yes it makes alot of sense, especially for the elderly. I just have to be careful the scents are not too strong since I don't know what they like and also if I'm including food items in the same package, the smell could transfer onto them. Is Burt's Bees a known brand over there? It's always tricky with Western brands in Asia, that if I go too eclectic, they won't value it since they or sometime more importantly, their neighbors/friends won't recognize it, and if it's too heavily marketed, its too common.

    The magazines over there are crammed with brands, brands, brands in tiny color photos - nothing like it here, even our catalogs have bigger pictures.

    I'll consider scarves for next year since they tend to be pricey.

    Has anyone w/overseas relatives ever sent US magazines w/lots of Christmas pictures? or traditional Christmas music cd's? :jammin:

    I'm hoping I could get everything together at Costco's and ship 'em tomorrow or the next day.
  10. I was in Tokyo this past September and I did not take notice of their products anywhere, but after an internet search they do apparently sell in Japan. Doh! My guess is that it's more well known with the younger to early middle aged generation as opposed to the elderly. (Unless your relatives are the up to date type?)

    Here's the website I found...
    Their shampoo and conditioner costs about $16 together in the US but on that website (2nd page) it's nearly $36 USD.

    Hope that helps.
  11. how about something from Bath & Bodyworks? You can't get that outside of the US. Or nail polish? Like, a set from OPI or Essie? Women in Japan are meticulous with make up, as you probably know so maybe some 'American made brands'? Or silk scarves? It would be nice for wool ones too since it gets pretty cold over there!
  12. My Japanese relatives all seem to be into chocolate (See's, Almond Roca) and beef jerky. Shipping chocolate might be tricky (don't want it to melt on the way). But you could always go to Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or Costco and find food treats?