Thursday, November 13, 2008

Omiyage

The custom of giving omiyage (souvenirs) is a big thing in Japan, and one I'm quite bad at. Invariably I forget my omiyage at home, break it in my suitcase, or gift something that the person is allergic to. Normally I don't feel so bad about my lack of omiyage skills, because a lot of time the stuff you're exchanging with your Japanese friends is stuff that you/they wouldn't want, either. (I can't tell you how many fans and Mt Fuji picture frames I have—if you want one, just let me know.)

But my friend Yukiko is the master of omiyage. Rather than hunt down this season's geisha picture or Mt Fuji print, she instead tried to find me the perfect Japanese gift. My last trip here she gave me a calendar of the royal family engaging in peaceful, flower-smelling activities. And this trip, she gave me a bazillion Japanese sweets---all of which I cataloged and photographed before devouring and have already started to write about here and here. Oh and here. And there's still more to come.

The best of all is that Yukiko got me socks with toe compartments. I always thought this was a Japanese trick to avoid athlete's foot or simply to be cute at airports when you have to take your shoes off for security, but according to Yukiko it's just more comfortable because it let's you wiggle your toes about as you please. (Funny that in a culture which favors the group over the individual, underneath it all Japanese toes—ever-masked objects of rebellion!—shake their little selves unbeknownst to all other body parts.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm still reading Omiyage as analagouse to, say, boobage. Omiyage: the condition and act of frequently saying "Oh my" in response to one's surroundings.