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Thread: Stuff to bring

  1. #1

    Default Stuff to bring

    Less of a packing thread, more of a thread to throw around ideas for what you're gonna bring to 'represent you/your city/culture'. If anything else, I guess I could kinda be working on this a little during the placement wait, just to feel like I'm doing SOMETHING... I feel like I need to start taking more pictures of my super exciting American life lol. I kinda wanna bring some physical photos or make a little photobook on shutterfly or something. Also gonna invest in some stickers for prizes and bring some American change because what kid doesn't get excited about foreign currency?

    I know omiyage is pretty ESID, but I'm kinda curious if anyone has some ideas/has had anything go by really successfully? The only individually packaged thing I can think of is Starburst and that's basically Hi-chew but not as good... I actually really like those pull n' peel twizzlers so maybe that could work?
    Last edited by weepinbell; April 27th, 2015 at 23:16.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Local color photo books are a good idea. One for your city/county and another for your state is always good.

    Stickers are a waste and the tool of the lazy.

    Any candy that won't melt in August heat is fine.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    Less of a packing thread, more of a thread to throw around ideas for what you're gonna bring to 'represent you/your city/culture'. If anything else, I guess I could kinda be working on this a little during the placement wait, just to feel like I'm doing SOMETHING... I feel like I need to start taking more pictures of my super exciting American life lol. I kinda wanna bring some physical photos or make a little photobook on shutterfly or something. Also gonna invest in some stickers for prizes and bring some American change because what kid doesn't get excited about foreign currency?

    I know omiyage is pretty ESID, but I'm kinda curious if anyone has some ideas/has had anything go by really successfully? The only individually packaged thing I can think of is Starburst and that's basically Hi-chew but not as good... I actually really like those pull n' peel twizzlers so maybe that could work?
    A lot of fruity American candy gets a sour look from people. It's way too sweet for a lot of people. I even brought Smarties and people were shocked by its revolutionary flavors. If you can find cookies that are individually wrapped, or candy that has a history in your area then go for that. Stay away from chocolate of any kind.

  4. #4
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Regarding omiyage, don't put yourself out. The importance of omiyage is overstated quite a lot IMO. It's a nice gesture, but not something that should be a big concern. That said, cheap snacks are probably best. Bring something that is individually wrapped if you can and something that can be shared with everyone in the office. Really, you just want to give people a little something to nibble on with their coffee, nothing more. It'll be summer, so chocolate might not be ideal.

    As for what to bring, in my experience the kids don't really care that much about foreign cultures so maybe don't make this a priority either(unless you have something mind-blowingly cool, a hand carved totem pole failed to impress). I think pictures are best. The students that I teach seem much more interested in pictures of my parents' house, my local mall and other things to which they can relate rather than pictures of any big cultural sites.

    From what I hear, stickers won't really be appreciated at the SHS level. The kids don't seem to care that much about them at that point. If you're teaching ES and even the first two grades of JHS, they go over pretty well though.

    That's just my view though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    I feel like every kid I have ever known goes absolutely nuts for stickers... Like am I supposed to handcraft personalized throw pillows for prizes? Lol the only ideas I have for prizes are the standard stickers, erasers, and candy, but if anyone has suggestions that Japanese kids go apeshit for that'd be sweet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    A lot of fruity American candy gets a sour look from people. It's way too sweet for a lot of people. I even brought Smarties and people were shocked by its revolutionary flavors. If you can find cookies that are individually wrapped, or candy that has a history in your area then go for that. Stay away from chocolate of any kind.
    yeah definitely have heard chocolate is a big no... I feel like that'd melt all over the place too, not worth it. The only snack thing my city is really known for is Chicago style popcorn (cheese/caramel corn mixed together), and that would just be too difficult to take over. I'm sure they both exist at least individually in Japan though so I could totally just mix it together for a holiday activity or something but obviously that's far off.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    The students that I teach seem much more interested in pictures of my parents' house, my local mall and other things to which they can relate rather than pictures of any big cultural sites.

    From what I hear, stickers won't really be appreciated at the SHS level. The kids don't seem to care that much about them at that point. If you're teaching ES and even the first two grades of JHS, they go over pretty well though.
    I honestly hadn't even thought of taking pictures of my house and stuff actually, thanks.

    Yeah obviously maybe not SHS kids lol I was definitely thinking more for the younger kids. But who knows, I've known some high schoolers here who love that kinda stuff, so even if I'm at SHS maybe it'll be something to just keep in my back pocket.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    I feel like every kid I have ever known goes absolutely nuts for stickers... Like am I supposed to handcraft personalized throw pillows for prizes? Lol the only ideas I have for prizes are the standard stickers, erasers, and candy, but if anyone has suggestions that Japanese kids go apeshit for that'd be sweet.
    Beyond stickers for ES or maybe JHS, there's absolutely no need for prizes at all. You may find that you have 1,000 students and have far too few, or that giving out prizes is not allowed by your school, and anyway you're just bribing your students to participate, which isn't great.

    Echoing johnny and saying that for some reason, aspiring JETs always blow omiyage into a huge deal when it really isn't. Just plop a bag of jolly ranchers down in the staff room and forget about it.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Country themed pencils! My Korean students (which didn't include SHS) loved these. Not necessarily because they had Maple leaves all over, but mostly because they were constantly forgetting to bring pencils. I think having something (even stickers) in your back pocket is never a bad idea. It gives you something extra to do for your introduction lesson, and they are cheap and easy to pack. And yeah, pictures of old Halloween costumes and my hockey team and stuff like that went over well. Maybe don't bring booze as a gift until you know who the recipient . Turns out my Director was part of a Christian group that doesn't drink. So smooth.

  8. #8
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Charms that kids can tie on their phones or bags are pretty well-received in high school. Pencils too. I was in two SHS settings for two years, and the girls really liked charms, and things they could use as pieces of flair. Those are good for prizes. You can have a box of them, and any time a kid is deemed worthy of a prize, you can let them pick. Don't try to bring Omiyage for all the staff and all the students, unless your pred. gives you the numbers, and they're manageable.

    One winter, I brought liquor-filled chocolates in the shape of bottles of liquor. I attached a note to every piece telling the teachers to eat them at home at night, because they have alcohol.

    OH! Those crazy rubber bracelets for the younger kids too.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; April 28th, 2015 at 01:11.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Quote Originally Posted by DismalBismuth View Post
    Country themed pencils! My Korean students (which didn't include SHS) loved these. Not necessarily because they had Maple leaves all over, but mostly because they were constantly forgetting to bring pencils. I think having something (even stickers) in your back pocket is never a bad idea. It gives you something extra to do for your introduction lesson, and they are cheap and easy to pack. And yeah, pictures of old Halloween costumes and my hockey team and stuff like that went over well. Maybe don't bring booze as a gift until you know who the recipient . Turns out my Director was part of a Christian group that doesn't drink. So smooth.
    Yeah, I've heard some people end up bringing gifts for their supervisors/principal/other important people? I'm sure that's a pred question for if that's even necessary, but I'm kinda curious what people end up bringing for that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shincantsen View Post
    Echoing johnny and saying that for some reason, aspiring JETs always blow omiyage into a huge deal when it really isn't. Just plop a bag of jolly ranchers down in the staff room and forget about it.
    Yesss for sure, I've been seeing people go absolutely crazy about it on the FB group (and in my consulate group to which the coordinators literally said calm down lol) and I'm definitely not super concerned about it, I just want something easy to pack... I wouldn't wish jolly ranchers upon anyone though I hate them so much lol. I'll browse for something in the candy aisle before I go, I'm just curious if anyone found something simple/went over well.

    Quote Originally Posted by BifCarbet View Post

    OH! Those crazy rubber bracelets for the younger kids too.
    I am so glad you mentioned this bc I literally have a supply of like 500 sitting in my closet unopened, don't ask...

  10. #10

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    There were some ALTs who brought some pretty heavy gifts to their supervisors and stuff, but to me it seemed like too much (think pieces of clothing) . That's the sort of stuff you should stay away from to be honest.

    And yeah, bringing omiyage is a bit hit or miss. It's not terribly important (and I realized that there was no way I could give everyone a small thing because there are so many people to gift with my four schools and BOE) and you won't be ostracized for not doing it. I ended eating all my omiyage. No ragrets.

    As for stickers, I use them a lot. Surprisingly not in my elementary schools, but only in my JH schools. They have folders where they put stickers for doing things like homework and participating in class and stuff, and generally they like my stickers more than the boring ones the teachers hand out, so that's fun.

    My kids all went crazy over pictures of my house. Totally get some nice ones taken, preferably if you can score pictures in different seasons (like, guys, there are four seasons where I come from too).

  11. #11
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Vancouver has two seasons. 3 months of the nicest summer weather in the world, and the 9 month rainy season.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  12. #12
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stuff to bring

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  13. #13

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    Yeah, I've heard some people end up bringing gifts for their supervisors/principal/other important people? I'm sure that's a pred question for if that's even necessary, but I'm kinda curious what people end up bringing for that...
    This is such a pet peeve of mine that I'm thinking of making a sticky post about it. The idea that you bring individual gifts for important people is not what Japanese gift culture is about and I have no idea where it came from. Whichever ALTs perpetuate it have managed to live in Japan for year(s) and not understood one of the most basic aspects of Japanese work culture.

    "Omiyage" means bringing some kind of snack, individually wrapped, in quantites enough for more or less every teacher to have one. Japan's tourism is geared around this and you can buy about 10 different kinds of "local delicacy" at any train station. Generally people bring them when they go on a trip to somewhere, or when they have done something they feel like they have to "make up" for, like being sick or having a baby (don't ask).

    Bringing individual gifts for your Principal etc is at best meaningless and at worse kind of insulting to everyone else at your workplace. They'll probably just assume it's some weird gaijin tradition. Giving gifts because you're a new employee isn't even a thing here tbh, but if you did want to bring something, bring individually wrapped sweets of some kind from your local area or just your country.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Satori Shinobi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    I brought 4 1-lbs packages of coffee from my hometown to share with the English office. They complimented me on my taste in coffee, I drank a good amount of the coffee, it was win-win. I continue to bring in premium coffee. My advice is to bring some sort of consumable (unless you got some premium swank), as I think that most people have too much stuff as is.

  15. #15

  16. #16

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Yeah, I'm actually planning on bringing a bunch of coffee to one of my schools. They pour me cups all day and it's really husky tasting. So it's a tad self serving, but also I just feel like they deserve something for all the coffee they've given me.

  17. #17
    Looking for some chaw acpc2203's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    My hometown is a big Japanese tourist destination, would bringing two free guidebooks (One in English, the other in Japanese) be a good idea? Otherwise was just going to bring some pictures and candy.

  18. #18
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    I bought gifts for my JTEs, but I did it on the sly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    Quote Originally Posted by acpc2203 View Post
    My hometown is a big Japanese tourist destination, would bringing two free guidebooks (One in English, the other in Japanese) be a good idea? Otherwise was just going to bring some pictures and candy.
    I can't see the guidebooks being a bad idea, but I do see them getting tossed if they're sitting out. If people know you're from a high Japanese tourist area they may want to ask you lots of questions about the town. Learn your history.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Stuff to bring

    I second the notions of bringing local tea or coffee. Most regions have their own special mixes, and it's something light and cheap you can take that also allows coworkers to go for it at their own paces. Very easy, little pressure for all involved, and appreciated.

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