July 05, 2016
KNOWLEDGE

Everyone’s Souvenir
What tourists buy for gifts nowadays

イマドキの、日本のおみやげ

Your trip won’t finish till giving the souvenir to your friends

On the last day of your trip, you may think about what have happened in the past few days. This can be just with yourself or with your crew. It may have been a stress in the beginning of your trip just to order something at a restaurant, but through out the days you realize that you become able to talk to the locals.

“Hey, bring this with you. This is really good”

An old lady may tell you so to bring a parting gift with you…

A little sad, and a little nostalgic already, there is an unexplainable feeling day before going back home. When having that nostalgic time, souvenir can become a good remedy for you. There are families, friends, and partners waiting for you to come back, and as explains above, your trip won’t be over till you give the souvenir to those people. There is a saying in Japan that “Trip tales are good enough suvenir”, but really, we all want to get something physical dont we? Well, everyone feels more happier to get gifts than tales we think.

So, what do foreign tourists get for souvenir nowadays? It is now a common thing to see tourists holding electronics which are spilling out of their hands.
Recent trend, as it appears like is that people buy something that are “unique”, “handy” and “useful”, which are of course branded legitimately Japanese. The very popular place to get souvenir in these days is apparently at a pharmacy (a place more like Boots in UK and Walgreens in US where you can get prescriptions and buy cosmetics at the same time). Tourists buy surprising things as souvenir, which for local Japanese people is hard to imagine as souvenir. In this post, we have picked up some surprisingly popular Japanese products which are mainly favoured with Chinese tourists.

おみやげを渡すまでが、旅である

旅行最終日。旅をともにした仲間と、あるいは1人でこの数日間を思い出してみる。最初はレストランでオーダーするのもドキドキだったけど、いつの間にか現地の人とも打ち解けられるようになった。「これ美味しいから持っていきなさい!」って、お店のおばちゃんがいきなりお菓子を持たせてくれたっけ……。さみしいような、懐かしいような。何とも感慨深くなる帰国前夜。
そんなとき、意外と心の支えとなってくれるのがおみやげである。母国で待っている家族や恋人、友人たちに思い出を渡すまでが旅行なのだから。日本では「おみやげ話で充分よ♪」なんて奥ゆかしいやりとりも行なわれるが、実際にはそんなんじゃ満足しない。誰だって、何かもらえたほうがうれしいに決まっているのだ。
では、イマドキの外国人は日本のおみやげに何を選んでいるのだろう。電化製品を両手に抱える様子はもはや日常の光景となっているが、最近は「珍しい」「配れる」「実用的」と3拍子そろったジャパニーズブランドのものを大量に持ち帰る姿もあちこちで見られるらしい。なかでも人気なのはドラッグストアで、日本人にとっては「それ!?」と思うようなものが注目を浴びている。そこで今回は、中国人を中心に人気を集めている“意外なおみやげ”をいくつかピックアップしてみよう。

Top 3 Souvenir choices of Tourists Nowadays.

Let’s begin with talking about Inochi no Haha  “A” (directly translated as Life of the Mother A). This specific medicine works for stress and weariness which women experience during their menopause. Not only that, the medicine is also used as a remedy for hot flashes and stiff shoulder. This product has a long history, existing from almost 100 years ago. It has been updated over the years depending on both physical and mental changes women have gone through in different eras. In 2008, they introduce a new branch of remedy Inochi no Haha “White”  which specifically are made for younger generation of women.

Next one to come up is called Natto Kinazé. As the name Natto explains, this enzyme product is made from natural ingredients which are extracted from Japanese Natto, and it prevents you from blood clotting. Not just promoting healthy blood stream to you, but also it can provide you some weight loosing effects. Natto has a characteristic smell and stickiness as some of you already know, and it is no wonder that foreigners still encounter a hard time not being able to eat as is. However what if they are in the shape of diet pills? Reason why these are popular is probably for its easiness to consume. No more weird smell and stickiness!

The last but not least to come is Roihi-Tsuboko which is a product the most talked about between the foreigners. To give you a simple explanation, it is a medical skin patch that works for such as stiff shoulder and bruises.
A report says that the sales of this products is doubled up compared to what of last year’s. There is a great tourists consumption going on here. Some people have used this product before by getting this as Japanese souvenir from their friends, and buy this again for their own souvenir. Some people buy for its unique packaging. Apparently for some of the Asian people, the man’s face on its package looks auspicious, and maybe that is another reason why this product is favoured (the man does not exist just to note). This one is going to be luck bringing souvenir for some people.

イマドキ外国人が選ぶ、おみやげ3選

まず取り上げたいのは、お年頃の女性の味方『命の母A』。更年期特有のイライラや倦怠感、のぼせや肩こりといった悩みに効果を発揮してくれる改善薬だ。実はこちらの製品、100年以上前から存在しているというなかなかの歴史の持ち主。心身ともに変化を遂げる女性を見つめ続け、2008年には『命の母ホワイト』という姉妹商品で若者向けにもアプローチが始まった。
続いては意外や意外、『ナットウキナーゼ』。日本食の納豆から抽出・精製される植物由来の力で、血液をサラサラにしてくれる酵素である。健康増進に加えてダイエット効果もあるということで、日本人に愛されている納豆。しかし、やはり外国人にあの独特な匂いと奇妙な粘り気はキツイ……。サプリメントならその煩わしさもないし、手軽に摂取できるのが人気の秘密だろう。
そしてもうひとつ、こちらはすでに話題にのぼることも多い『ロイヒつぼ膏』。なんと昨年に比べて売り上げが倍以上にまでなっているというから、インバウンド消費はすごい。「前にお友達からもらって気持ちよかった」と自分もおみやげとして買う人もいれば、パケ買いする人も。何やらここに描かれた男性のイラストが、アジア圏の人にとっては縁起のよい顔に見えるのだとか(実際には架空の人物)。なんともオメデタイおみやげになるようだ。

So, why do you choose that?

A simple question comes to our mind, why such unique products are selling as souvenir? Roihi-Tsuboko is easy to understand as it is simple to use, but for other two Inochi no Haha “A” and Natto Kinazé are quite hard to understand its reasons for Japanese locals. We have asked the company which produce these products and here is what they say;

“These products are unique not only in overseas but also in Japan as well. The reason why so many people actually do get hold of these products, is because there are also people from overseas having the same ‘problem’ with Japanese locals. We assume that is why tourists also become glad of the products by finding out ‘So there is this way to fix it!’. We are also taking extra care on its catchy names and packagings. We think it is important that you can at least get some ideas on what you use the products for from its names and packages, even if you don’t understand Japanese.”

Now we see it. Japan knows how to solve everyone’s problem, as there is a Japanese saying that Japan knows how to “reach its hand to where itchy”.
Coming to wonder how many of Japanese people know of the fact that this is only possible with delicate national character and gentle service mind…
During this research, there has come in a rumor that an old lady from Russia are buying a dozen of diet pills. As you can see from this bulk buying, the overseas demand of Japanese goods are still increasing.

外国人のみなさん、なぜそれを選ぶ?

しかし、なぜこんなマニアックな製品が売れているのか。『ロイヒつぼ膏』は使い道が明確だからわかるものの、『命の母A』と『ナットウキナーゼ』に関しては正直日本人として疑問が残るところ。そこで、両方の製品を扱っている製薬会社に話を聞いてみた。
「こういったユニークでニッチな製品は、海外に限らず日本国内でも珍しいと思われます。それを多くの方の手にとっていただけるということは、外国の方々にもそういったニーズや“お困りごと”があるということ。だからこそ『こんな対処法があったのか!』と喜んでいただけているのではないでしょうか。また、弊社ではわかりやすいパッケージとネーミングを心掛けています。日本語がわからなくても、何のために使うのか、使うとどうなるのかをある程度理解していただけているのだと思います」
う〜ん、なるほど。さすが“かゆいところに手が届く国”ニッポン! 繊細な国民性と細やかな心配りがちょっとした製薬にまで行き届いているなんて、一体何人の日本人が気付いているのだろう。
いろいろと調査しているうちに、あるロシア人のおばさまが肥満症改善薬を1ダース買い占めたという噂を聞いた。まさに爆買い。海外における日本の需要は、まだまだ伸び盛りだ。

writer / EMI.N
photographer / TOMOHIKO TAGAWA

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