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Thread: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

  1. #1

    Default Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Hi all,

    What did everyone bring (if anything) as a present for your JTE's/principals/vice principals/etc? I was thinking along the lines of boxes of Girl Scout cookies or votives from Yankee Candle (their factory is about 40 minutes away from my home town). I don't know if those would be weird or not, though. I also remember seeing that people were getting away from bringing omiyage? Any input?
    I came here to laugh at you.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    I've heard that omiyage is almost always edible goods, so it's probably best to stick with that.

  3. #3
    Member nostos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Things that are individually wrapped are best, if its to share.
    Last edited by nostos; April 7th, 2014 at 01:39.

  4. #4
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    edible goods, individually wrappable if they spoil quickly, and DON'T BOTHER.

    Seriously... biggest on-going lie on jet. You don't need to bring em, and noone will care if you do or don't.
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  5. #5
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    I didn't bother bringing any since I didn't have space. Don't fret too much about it and only bring stuff if you have room. No one really expects you to know about omiyage culture at first anyway. If you really want to bring something, stick with something edible and individually wrapped. Non-edible things aren't as good since they take up space in people's tiny homes.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    biggest on-going lie on jet
    Word.

    Gift giving culture in Japan is not like that. Enough snacks or candy so that everyone in the staffroom gets one or nothing at all. Every train station in Japan will have some kind of "regional specialty" (usually invented for this purpose entirely) of rice cracker or crappy "cake" in boxes of 40 for people to take back to their workplace after going on vacation. So if you want to bring something make sure it fits this category or you'll just confuse people. Even finding the right time to give individual gifts will be awkward and frankly if you give something to the VP in front of other teachers that you give nothing to it's pretty improper.

    God knows how ALTs can manage to live in Japan for a year or more and not figure this out. My predecessor lived here for two years and still told me to bring individual gifts for the Principal, VPs and JTEs but not for everyone else.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    If you do want to bring something I would just bring a box of something like lindt and go around shyly giving one to everyone and introducing yourself (saying yoroshiku and bowing 10 times). Especially if you're a girl they'll be talking about how kind you are all week.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    I brought shitty magnets and crap from my hometown. Honestly it wasn't necessary or worth it. For most ALTs coming over in the summer - your arriving during summer break anyways, so you might not even get a chance to great everybody in a meeting etc. If you have a candy company or something near you, I'd say go with that - get small (individual serving and wrapped) and give to Principal, VP, and then everybody else in the staff-room. You aren't giving them useless junk (although maybe junk food) but it'll give you a chance to actually meet everyone instead of just hanging around with the JTEs.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    I brought some stuff to give the Principal, VP and my JTEs and ended up forgetting the whole idea. I ended up only passing out the candies I brought for the whole staff room and that probably went over better than awkwardly giving presents to a small group of people.

    I ended up bringing the magnets and crap meant for omiyage and giving it out to students as stamp card prizes.

    Basically just don't bother with anything more than the individually wrapped snacks. You're not expected to know the whole gift giving culture and it's a waste of money and bag space otherwise.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Agreed, don`t worry too much. I ended up bringing a lot of Omiyage for fear I would not be liked if I didn`t. They were pleasantly surprised but didn`t care a whole bunch and as mentioned, you are not expected to know about Omiyage yet anyway. But, individually wrapped snacks are definitely the way to go if you are set on bringing some.

  11. #11
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Also, at the risk of perpetuating the "ITIL is full of bitter people" stereotype, don't be too offended when your coworkers don't actually eat it or complain about how sweet/big/whatever it is. If you do take gifts, remember that the gesture is the important thing and don't get too invested.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by yingyangryder View Post
    you are not expected to know about Omiyage yet anyway
    I dunno I suspect omiyage might be one of those things that only Japanese do but assume is a universal law of existence.

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity View Post
    Also, at the risk of perpetuating the "ITIL is full of bitter people" stereotype, don't be too offended when your coworkers don't actually eat it or complain about how sweet/big/whatever it is. If you do take gifts, remember that the gesture is the important thing and don't get too invested.
    That's why I recommended going around and handing it out/leaving it on people's desks. I think if it doesn't look like Japan omiyage then they might not get that it's for them. But yes, there are plenty of fvckers who'll eat sh1tty Japanese food and tell you it's oishii out of a sense of duty and then complain that foreign food is too sweet (sasuga) after taking your gift.

    "But Japanese are so polite!" Bollocks. /rant

  13. #13

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    I'd re-iterate the don't bother, 10 times over. It's little more than a lie perpetuated by Jets to make the fresh meat sweat a little.

    As has been said before, it's awkward for you, will likely make others feel awkward and can potentially mark you out as rude or crawling on day 1. By all means crack out one big bag of cheapshite chocolate from your home country and put it in a communal part of the staffroom, but there's no need for anything else.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcharisma View Post
    As has been said before, it's awkward for you, will likely make others feel awkward and can potentially mark you out as rude or crawling on day 1.
    We should probably stress this more. Giving an individual gift with others around is not only weird, it's potentially going to make you look bad. Others have been saying that it's not necessary but I'd actually say that it's a bad thing to do.

  15. #15
    Senior Member zombiekelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    I only brought something for when I came back from vacation, like everyone else did. Even then it was just some reeses.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    I brought some maple sugar cookies which were individually wrapped and some hard maple sugar candies. I left them out for the teachers to take if they wanted to.

    I got some maple syrup and post cards for my principal and vice principal but I gave it to them privately.

    Do not bring anything that is not individually wrapped or that could melt. It will be very hot when you get here and you might not start school right away. That was the best advice I got.

    The teachers didn`t go mad over anything- I know a lot of JETs who didn`t bring anything.
    2013 Shortlisted, D.C.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Alright, sounds good to me. I think if I do bring anything, it'll just be something to put in the staff room as mrcharisma suggested. I'm sure I'll be glad to have the extra space in my luggage when it comes time to pack. Thanks everyone!
    I came here to laugh at you.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    I'm going to bring stuff I want to eat... If they don't want it, then I'll eat it. Problem solved.


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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Bring stuff if you have extra space, otherwise don't bother.

    I brought saltwater taffy for the teachers, and small (like, one serving) jars of marionberry jam for my supervisor and principal (gave them two jars each).

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Gifts/Omiyage When Arriving

    Bring food. Cookies, candies (not chocolate - way too hot for that to survive). Maybe something practical, like a tea towel for a helpful neighbour or a cell phone strap for a female JTE. I stupidly lugged a framed art print of my city over for the BOE superintendent - we had a sister city relationship type of thing at the time, but boy what a pain that was. Food is more than fine. You can even order it from FBC, rakuten, or flying pig and have it shipped to your address we do that every time we go to my husband's parents. Shh don't tell

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