The ExPat Returneth

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Do You Miss? The Expat Goods Exchange

The bath ball toy parade

The past week my husband's colleague from Japan came to the US on business. He and his family used to live nearby, and recently have moved home to Japan. His wife, Saiko, and I use our husbands' business trips as an opportunity to exchange goods. I shop at Target for her and she shops at the Japanese equivalent for me. We also make our husbands shop. 

We are doing our part to support both economies. And we've got a nice little foreign exchange going.

Some of the kid snacks.
Unfortunately most were devoured before I could take a picture!
Before her husband's visit, she sent me a brief message on Facebook: "What do you want from Japan?" 

I've noticed my list of needs have dropped dramatically from our initial move back a year and half ago. I can buy some stuff here. We're also learning to live without items we used to love like mochi (sticky rice cakes) and jelly drinks (soda with bits of jelly floating in them). 

A bath ball package.
Just like cereal: Happy Bear hidden inside
but you have to take a bath to get him!
I always ask for fizzy bath balls that have toy surprises inside. My kids adore them; they still love the Japanese bath culture. I wish I could find the bath balls in the US. They're a brilliant idea for kids' baths, especially if you've got a child with an abhorrence for water. 

The other item she always sends are fun kid snacks and osembe, rice crackers, for the adults.

Yummy rice crackers

Thanks Saiko and Taro for the goods exchange!

What items do you miss the most from your host country? Do you have a friend that will send you the "can't live without" foods or goods? Most importantly, have you seen bath balls with toys inside in the US? Please share!


  1. Hey Larissa!

    When I was a kid we had bear-shaped soaps called Fuzzy Wuzzy. The soap was hollow and had a small toy inside. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.

    My cousin brings me lovely gifts from Singapore every time he visits. I send him back with nuts, dried fruit and baking pans that are hard to find in Singapore. The half-sheet pans from Williams-Sonoma were too big for his oven. :)

    1. I've never seen the Fuzzy Wuzzy. How cute! Too bad they don't make him anymore.

      I know what you mean about the baking pans. I have lots of tiny baking pans from Japan. Our oven was also a microwave and some how a broiler. Very odd. I ended up not baking much while we were there, except for the occasional cookies. Cupcakes were a big pain in the butt!

      Dried fruit is a good one to send. I like to send chocolate chips for friends that bake. We couldn't get regular chips in Japan for some reason. I had to buy a chunk of chocolate and break it in pieces. I also couldn't get Pam cooking spray. Maple syrup was also expensive.

  2. Ris, I am enjoying our exchange everytime. After we moved back to Japan, we miss several things we used to use or get in US. Even we could find here, some of them are very expensive(>_<)
    For my kids, they miss many kinds of colorful cereals, fruit fravored pain reief syrup and snacktime at school! For me, thick and string kitchen papers, Bath&BodyWorks' hand soaps, and Wilton' cake boards and cute cookie cutters!
    My kids and I enjoy shopping what you and your girls like ! We are so lucky to have such a good friends to do so.

    1. I will remember these items for next time! What kind of kitchen papers? Like a paper towel or like a baking paper? I want to get you so many things except Trey is always worried about what can fit in the suitcase! I think he's going back to Japan this summer. I'll send more stuff!

  3. Hi Triberr pal,

    I am an ex-pat returned so I really relate to your blog. I nominated you for a Versatile Blog Award. You can find the information here on my blog.
    Enjoy it as you need it.

    1. Hey Sabrina,
      Wow! Thanks so much for the nomination. That's so sweet of you! I'm glad you like the blog. Where did you live overseas? I'm always looking for expat guest bloggers, so if you'd like to share something about your experiences, let me know!

  4. That is so awesome to have an exchange like that!