For gift-wrapping, you would ask
(purezento youni onegaishimasu)
Please make it gift-wrapped.
When it's for yourself, i.e. you don't need gift-wrapping,
(jitaku you desu)
It's for my own.
If you ask them to gift-wrap, they usually wrap it with beautiful paper/bag and a ribbon or sticker.
Do you know there is another option for gift-wrapping in Japan?
It's のし (noshi).
Noshi is a gift wrapping paper printed the type of gift and your name.
Noshi is usually used for a formal gift as a traditional style like wedding gift, baby gift etc.
There are some very strict rules for using the design like how many strings there should be for wedding gifts. The number of strings for wedding gift is different from the one for baby gifts. The way of tying the strings, the color...
Most of Japanese people can't explain the detailed rules and actually recently we don't really use noshi.
It's just a very traditional Japanese gift style.
BUT! On the other hand, I think if you give a gift to your friend using noshi, it must be super cool.
The type of gift and your name is printed on a Japanese traditional paper and it's usually free! Cool, isn't it.
Let's try to ask a shop clerk to gift-wrap with noshi and give the special present for your friend!
I'm asking noshi for my friend's birthday present today.
Most of department stores offer noshi wrapping service. (Casual shops might not offer it.)
You can buy anything you want but sometimes they charge you for a gift box because they usually need a box when they wrap with noshi.
I recommend you go to a food department and choose a box of assorted sweets so that they won't ask you about a box.
1. Choose a gift.
(sumimasen kore onegaishimasu)
Excuse me, I'll have this one.
2. Ask のし wrapping service. (The most important part!)
(purezento youni onegaishimasu. noshi o tsukete moraemasuka. tanjoubi prezento desu.)
Please make it gift-wrapped. Could you put noshi on it please? It's a birthday present.
3. The clerk confirmed me if the title is OK with 誕生日御祝(tanjoubi oiwai) "birthday celebrating"
(hai, sorede onegaishimasu)
Yes, please make it so.
*You don't need to know the detailed rules for noshi I mentioned above. They will choose an appropriate one depending on your purpose.
4. The clerk asked me what name I want them to print there.
The shop I went had a special paper for ordering noshi and I just wrote my name there.
(There are three boxes here because sometimes you want to give a gift with some other people.)
Some shops don't have this kind of paper but they usually ask you to write (not "say") your name on a paper anyway.
Kanji, hiragana or katakana, anything would be fine.
(Usually you put your full name or family name there.)
I asked to print あこ (Ako) this time.
I'm sure alphabet would be OK, too but I guess they will ask following questions like if it's OK to print it as vertical writing or something.
5. The clerk goes somewhere to print your noshi and finally you can get a special original gift!
In addition to a birthday present, these are some other choices for a casual gift you might want to know.
御出産祝 (goshussan iwai) baby gift
御結婚祝 (gokekkon iwai) wedding gift
母の日 (haha no hi) Mother's Day
父の日 (chichi no hi) Father's Day
The staff I talked today asked me if I was sure I wanted noshi instead of a birthday message card because using noshi for a birthday gift is not so common.
But actually there are so many choices for using noshi and it's up to you unless the situation you give the gift is very formal.
This is free "noshi printing" service
See 3.上書きを選ぶ and you'll see so many types of noshi there including 御誕生日祝い birthday wishes.
If you try to ask noshi wrapping, let me know how it goes please.
Also if there is a special wrapping system in your country, let me know about it, too!
1,000yen cookies look pretty gorgeous now, don't they!