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Giving Souvenirs in English

① Giving a Souvenir

Let’s look at a few phrases you can use when giving a souvenir in English.

Firstly, I want tell you about a few experiences I’ve had over the years in Japan

Sometimes when you try to translate the Japanese ‘heart’ or the Japanese ‘spirit’ into English, it just doesn’t work out.

For instance, don’t say anything negative about the souvenir even before you have handed it over. I’ve have been given some home-made jam before and the person told me

“It’s not delicious! It’s not even sweet! Throw it away if you don’t like it.”

I was really surprised!

Let’s look at some more positive phrases

  • I’m not sure if you’ll like it, but give it a try. It’s good with hot buttered toast.

  • It tastes great with yogurt. I have it for breakfast every day.

  • I made some jam for you! I hope you like it!

It's better to be more 'positive' in English and be more confident when handing over a souvenir. It makes for an altogether, better atmosphere.

If you go on a trip, it’s nice to bring back a souvenir.

Let’s look at a few more useful phrases.

(A) a little something


I brought you back a little something from Kyoto. They’re called Yatsuhashi.

'A little something' sounds nice. There is no pressure and it sounds altogether lovely and a perfect fit for Japanese and English-speaking culture.

(B) a small something


It’s just a small something from my trip to Guam. Don’t eat them all at once!

It’s always nice to make a little joke, too.

(C) a small gift


Here’s a small gift from my hometown. They’re traditional Japanese pickles.

So again, giving that extra information makes the gift sound even more special.

(D) a lot of people say they are good


I got you some wine from Yamanashi. It gets a great write-up. A lot of people say it goes well with fish.

If something 'goes well' with something it means it’s a good match, like beer and gyoza!

(E) I heard you like ~


I heard you like sweet bean buns, so I brought you a little gift from my trip.

Again, this sounds like you have made the effort to find out what the person likes. It shows great Japanese hospitality. Lovely!


② Getting a Souvenir

When someone goes to the trouble of buying you a souvenir you have to show your gratitude.

Let’s look at some useful phrases.

(A) Oh! You shouldn’t have! Thank you so much!


(B) You didn’t have to do that! Thank you!


(C) For me? You’re too good to me!


And if you are the person giving the gift you can say something like

(A) You are more than welcome!


(B) Not at all!


(C) Sure thing!


(D) I hope you like them!




Giving and receiving souveirs or gifts is an integral part of Japanese culture. The next time you are giving a gift, make sure to use one of the phrases from above. Please watch the VIDEO LESSON on YouTube!

Thanks for reading!

Throw away




Hand over


Doesn’t work out


All at once


Japanese pickles


A good write up


Sweet bean buns


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