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I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

Los Angeles
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I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

I was just thinking back on my wonderful trip. I had a few different volunteer tour guides throughout our travels. I had heard so many times that tipping is just not done and so brought with me some small packages of Sees foil wrapped chocolate easter eggs. At the end of each tour I would hand our guide one of these pretty bags and tell them it was chocolate made only in California. This always seemed to bring delight.

However, in thinking about it, I wonder if maybe on these kind of all day tours there is an accepted tipping protocol that I didn't know about. It mortifies me to think that maybe the guides were actually thinking they might get a cash tip and only received some chocolates instead.

Thoughts?

Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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1. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

Volunteer guides are just that, volunteers. They don't expect any cash. In fact, giving them cash would make them uncomfortable and many will refuse to accept.

I'm sure they enjoyed Easter eggs. FYI, you can now buy See's in Tokyo. There are two shops there but none in Kansai region yet.

I hope you paid for their lunch and temple entrance fees, etc.

Sapporo, Japan
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for Sapporo, Hokkaido
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2. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

Yes, I agree - what you did was perfect and i'm sure appreciated.

Some of my students work as volunteer guides and when a few of them got tipped a while back for guiding round Sapporo - they gave the money to the Friendship organisation which had introduced them to the overseas guests!!!!

Amanda

Los Angeles
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3. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

Hi Shibuyakko,

Yes, we paid for all meals and entrance fees. Luckily the tour guides I gave them to were in Nara and Iga Ueno. But the guide in Nara had lived in San Francisco and his eyes opened wide and he said "SEES CANDY!!" It was a winner, clearly!

BTW Where do I report my trip.... I mean where is the Trip Report area and how do I access it? Sorry I didn't "run into you" in Nara Shibuyakko! Would have been fun to do so!

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

hi there

How do we find volunteer guides in different cities please? We will be in Japan for 12 days with two 15 year old girls so younger guides would probably be fun for them.

thanks

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

Hi Julie - To post about your trip you go to the top-ish of the page here and there is a search box next to where it gives you an option of which forum,ie: Tokyo... You type in "trip report" in the search box and that takes you to the postings. There don't seem to be any current ones, unless I am doing something wrong, so I'm sure it will be great to have your wonderful report added to the posts! Still researching away and looking forward to hearing from you always. Sheridan

London, United...
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6. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

http://www.tokyofreeguide.com/

http://www.visitkansai.com/

Los Angeles
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7. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

Hey girl, (Miss Sheridan!)

Thanks for your last letter, and this post! Sorry, I haven't been on the forum for awhile. I just asked about trip reports on a different post so I apologize for repeat info.

Getting my trip written is a LONG process. And I will have to edit what I've sent to you already... nobody wants THAT much detail (but you!)

Take care, talk soon!

Los Angeles
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8. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

Mel1Sydney,

Try this site. I think I found my tour guide through YMCA Goodwill tours for Nara. Other tour guides were from the SGG club which is also listed on this site. There seem to be endless possibilities for the major cities! You can also write (email) the tourist office of the smaller cities to see if there is a volunteer guide service in English or whatever language you want. Good luck!

…about.com/od/volunteertourguide/Volunteer_T…

Aoyama Dori and San...
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9. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

One thing that you can always offer is reciprocity, if you wish to bear this obligation. Give them your contact information and let them know explicitly that if they ever visit your home area that you would be honored to return the favor. This is just something that might mean a whole lot to them. It might even induce them to travel to your home area. I've done this for friends and relatives in Japan and have established some incredible friendships this way. This goes for anywhere you may visit in the world. Your offer of your time and attention often cannot compare with any small gift you might have to offer.

My young niece (10 YO) acted as my guide up to the ohaka (cemetery) where the family plot is located and one of my acts of thanks was to tell her to come to California and stay with us. "Yada!" (don't like that!) was her immediate answer (she gets motion sickness and doesn't travel well) but I told her that if she ever gets used to air travel to be sure to come and stay with her aunt and uncle in California. She understood and I told her to make sure she comes to the US before she gets married and has kids or she will forever regret it and she understood and became more open to this. Anyway, I believe this sort of offer can be priceless to someone visiting a foreign country for the first time.

Los Angeles
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10. Re: I wonder if I made a gaijin error... advice please

Yes, Route 246, I agree with you. I would love to host a couple of the guides we met in Japan, our Tokyo guide, Junko-san and Tsuji-san. And we met a wonderful young man on a train that ended up spending the day with us. A kind of romantic 24 year old (and I mean romantic in the sense that he was an artistic sort, very poetic, who looked at the world in the way a young writer might) who wanted to travel and see something besides Japan. He hasn't been very good about emailing (only once since we returned and I've sent pictures on to him etc.) so maybe he felt strange about the communication.

Anyway, yes, it's a great idea and one I hope at least one of my new friends will take me up on!