Some of you future JETs may have been hearing things along the lines of “omiyage” and are currently trying to figure out what that means, aside from the usual translation of “souvenirs”.

Omiyage is for the following reasons:

1. It’s common courtesy. Japanese business coming to the states always bring present from Japan, and as we are going to their country, respecting the culture is a good things.
2. Bribe the teachers to like you. Ok, maybe not, but if you bring something really snazzy that they’ve never seen before you’ll make them happy. These teachers are going to be nervous to meet you, so any icebreaker is good.

What is a good omiyage to bring:

1. Food. I read all sorts of things before I came, but no one really suggested this. Any sort of delicacy from your home, be it Maple Syrup, or in my case Celestial Seasonings (the factory is right on my doorstep), it’s always a big hit.
2. For your supervisor, principle, and vice principle you’ll need to buy something a bit more snazzy. Picture books, or crafts from your area are always appreciated. I brought some nice coffee table books.
3. Candy. Tootsie roll pops were a BIG hit. The stuents loved them too.


2 thoughts on “Omiyage

  1. In general Japanese people hate Root Beer, Cinnamon and Liquorish.

    Also if you don’t bring Omiyagi it’s not the end of the world, but it is a really nice thing to do.

  2. High School ALTs heading our way should also be aware that August 8th-10th is Ishikawa’s English Summer Seminar – your first business trip as an ALT!

    We really need any and all small trinkets, postcards, touristy things from your home town (pencils, postcards, small pins, brochures, knick-nacks, etc.), burned CDs with new music and anything else you can share about where you come from. We use these in the prizes we give for the various activities and for the weekend’s skit show performance awards. Please contact me if you would like to send them ahead of time!


    tonyathepa at gmail dot come

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