Omiyage

Omiyage (or souvenirs), not a subject I ever really worried myself over. But the other day in my Intercultural Communication class my teacher told us that we cannot return from a trip empty handed. I was so glad he told us this because that weekend I was off to Nagano with friends. I figured it would be a perfect opportunity for me to buy souvenirs for my host family. Especially to make up for the fact that I haven’t bought them souvenirs before… Ooops!

So, I made sure to get my little sister Rena a cute little plush monkey from the Monkey Park we visited in Yudanaka. Also, I bought my (hot) parents as well as both set of grandparents small boxes of candy famous in Nagano. I was so happy with myself. I was really happy that I remembered to buy my grandparents here a present as well. Both sets have given me presents and I wanted to return the favor. So, the stage is set and it looks like I’ll win this cultural obstacle. WRONG!

Once I get home and settled, I bring down my wrapped omiyagefor my family. So happy with my purchases I expect a huge thank you… maybe a few, you shouldn’t haves. Instead, my mother thanked me and then told me not to buy any more omiyage. I understand her reasons why… I guess. Maybe she doesn’t want me spending the unnecessary money. Or, could it be that she feels bad that I am buying them presents? I’m not really sure. What I am even more unsure about is what do I do about the sweets I bought my grandparents here. Do I give it to them or should I just keep them and give them to other people?

Also, I was a little dissapointed when I gave my little sister the monkey. She seemed not to really like it. If I would have known that maybe I would have saved it for Alyssa, who I know would have loved it!

Hmm… just another cultural obstacle in Japan.

Steph

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