I find it really hard to return gifts and say thank you in Japan. Not because I am so rude I can't be bothered, I really try. But Japanese people are so good and they always have to have the last gift or thank you.
For example, there is an old couple that have a garden close by that we walk by every day, they grow all kinds of vegetable and are always giving us something, few potatos, carrots, lettuce, cabbage. One time when I had fresh souvenirs from Iceland, I took them some chocolate. The next day they thanked us so much and gave us more vegetable!
Another sample, there was a house BBQ earlier this summer and it was so much fun. The next day I decided to beat the other people and finally get to make a real thank you. We made thank you cards for everybody, in japanese, and I was so proud, finally I had managed to be properly polite. The next few days we got thank you letters for the thank you letter from everyone!
BUT, there is one thing that I have found they truly appreciate and lets me feel like I have really thanked them. That is homemade gift :)
So later today or tomorrow we are taking this to your new friends as a thank you for all the vegetable and fruits they gave us Saturday. When I was there I saw that she has sewn some things in the house so ...
It might not be complicated and fancy and she probably has one but it is personal and cute :)
My way of saying thank you 😀