When I left for Japan, I wrote down a few things I wanted to bring back with me. However, when I got there and started shopping, I realized how many more things I wanted to bring back to the States.
Well, want to see what I ended up bringing back with me?
Japanese rice bowls and pottery
My first and most important thing I wanted to bring back was Japanese ochawan (Japanese rice bowls) and Japanese pottery. There are many beautiful designs, and while my local Asian grocery store carries them, they're: a) $$, and b) not a good selection of sizes nor designs. I was worried about carting them back to the US, but I wrapped them well in Japanese newspaper and made sure they were carried on (and not checked). I even purchased more than I needed in the event some would break during travel, but all of them held up great. Here are some pictures of what I purchased:
Japanese/Asian Tea was my 2nd most sought-after item- I can't find any good Japanese tea at our local Asian grocery store
More Japanese tea leaves and tea bags
Japanese candy- So good (and not super sweet)
Japanese air-dry hangers
I tend to air-dry a lot of our delicate clothes (polos, nice work pants, etc), so we have several collapsible wooden racks in our laundry room to dry them. In Japan, everyone air dries their clothes so there are a lot of options when it comes to accessories to do so. I really liked this one since it takes minimum space- great for smaller clothing such as socks, etc
They even come in fun shapes
Erasable pens and markers (Pilot FriXion pens)
Naomi introduced me to this, but these pens are magnificent, and their erasing capabilities are fantastic. It looks like you never wrote on the piece of paper at all, the erasers work so well. I have never seen these pens here, but when I looked them up online, of course Amazon carries them. When I looked at this link, the pen designs look a bit different, but they are called the "FriXion" pens by Pilot. We purchased ours at Tokyu Hands, and they had various pen sizes (0.3, 0.5, 0.7) and colors- and even erasable markers and highlighters.
Japanese puzzle art
When I was a child, my aunt and I would buy puzzles and work on completing them together. Once they were complete, she would adhere a glue on top of the puzzle and then frame it to hang on my walls in my room. This is very popular in Japan, and puzzles come with the glue inside. Darin, knowing this, picked out a Japanese anime puzzle we could work on together (and naturally, the glue was already included inside) and once completed, we'll frame it.
Japanese ornament- I wanted one small ornament to commemorate our Japan trip, so I saw this cute Hello Kitty wearing a kimono and had to buy it
Oshibori- Before any meal at a restaurant, you will be given an oshibori (wet towel) to wipe your hands clean before eating. My mom, even in the States, would still give us oshibori before we ate out. It's even better if the towel is nice and warm (just run the towel under warm water, fold, and insert into the tube). This is also a good item to take with you on long car rides, amusement parks, etc. (Sorry Wet Ones wipes, you just don't cut it.)
Japanese notebooks- My uncle gifted these notebooks to Darin, wishing him luck on his studies to learn Japanese
A "spouted" ladle- My mom has one of these at home, and when I eventually moved into my first apartment in college, I couldn't find this kind of ladle anywhere. Since I love making soups, I really like how this ladle has a "spout", making it easier to pour liquids into a bowl or thermos without spilling. When I saw this in Japan, I bought 2
Japanese Cooking Chopsticks- These are similar to normal chopsticks but are longer in length. These are meant for cooking- the long height of the chopsticks prevents oil/food "spurts" from hitting your skin or fingers
Bento-sized tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayo- Perfect for lunch boxes!
Jiji lamp hanger- Since Darin knows how much I love Miyazaki films (including Jiji from "Kiki's Delivery Service"), he saw this and surprised me with it. It's Jiji and you attach it to a lamp or ceiling fan trigger
Japanese mugs- More Japanese pottery!
Onigiri holder- I love onigiri (rice balls), and now I can pack them in my lunch without having to worry that they will get smushed
Osenbei (rice crackers)- Most typical flavor is soy sauce, but I loved the flavored ones we tried. From L-R: Curry, Wasabi, and Black Pepper
Cute Japanese socks- Too cute to pass up! (These are from "Tutu-Anna")
Yes, we filled an entire IKEA bag full of Japanese snacks- most were gifts for friends and family, but we kept some of it for ourselves too
Tenugui- Japanese hand towel Darin got gifted. He loved the sumo pattern
Cat handtowels/washcloths- These are just simple handtowels with a little black cat peeking out from the top. I saw my sister and my aunt had this, and I was on a mission to find it! With the constant running around we did, I just never managed to find these towels, but my aunt gifted them to me the last day we were with her
I love how the cat just peeks out