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Omiyage suggestions from the U.S.?

NancyM

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Looking for suggestions for small, sturdy, lightweight, squashable, preferably rather flat, trinkets to take to Japan next Spring.

Would protractors be good (they have U.S. *and* metric), or do Japanese measuring systems already use both?

I'd like to take things that Japanese working in the tourist industry don't already have a ton of.

Ideal omiyage will also be unisex.

While I'm on the subject, could someone please tell me how to say "for everyone" and "from all of us?" I'm planning on taking a box of flavored black tea (40 tea bags) for cruise ship staff and for each of the hotels we'll be staying in.
 

PatrickNZ

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Something local to your home town/city is good. Second best is something from your country, which is pretty big. Often small food items are a good option (do you have a local chocolate, honey or cake/biscuit). Other options I use are bottle openers, pens, phone charms and fridge magnets. One of my travelling companions earlier this year used gold plated pins (they were from Australia so little kangaroos and maps of Aus - they worked well).
 

NancyM

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Thank you for the quick response, Patrick NZ! Yes, the local honey is quite famous, but I'm not sure heavy, fragile, and sticky is a good combination!

For edibles I was going to take several boxes of flavored black tea (40 teabags per box). I should be able to break down the box, transport the bags flat, then reassemble before wrapping. I'm trying not to go the fridge magnet/keychain route because I figure everyone in the tourist industry over there must already have drawers and drawers full.

Yes, I have several kinds of metal pins already, great minds on the same track! I even found some Hello Kitty Super Bowl pins on clearance last night.
 

mdchachi

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Speaking of clearance, you should be able to find a bunch of Make America Great Again trinkets, stickers and the like by next spring. :laugh:

If you think they could use U.S. rulers for some reason, that could be a good idea. I doubt they can get them easily in Japan.

Postcards could be an option. They are flat and there are many from scenic to funny to artsy.

Generally speaking edibles are best in my opinion. The recipients aren't left with an unusable trinket.
 

Mike Cash

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Thank you for the quick response, Patrick NZ! Yes, the local honey is quite famous, but I'm not sure heavy, fragile, and sticky is a good combination!
The 25% tariff might not be much fun either....
 

NancyM

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Great idea, md --probably didn't occur to me 'cause I'm completely disgusted by politics...ugh.

Of course , any edibles will have to wait 'til closer to time.
 

NancyM

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There will be three of us travelling together, and I'm wondering whether we each have to give an omiyage or whether it could be a group token.

If so, the stash is oversized!
 

Majestic

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I think the tea is a good idea. It can be from the group.
 

Glenski

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How are protractors metric or imperial? They measure degrees...period. If you mean rulers, I don't understand why. Who are these for? Japanese would have little to no use for them if they aren't metric.

Super Bowl stuff would be weird. Japanese don't know that sport championship very well if at all, and giving something with a Japanese logo like Hello Kitty is weird.

Let me qualify the above...
My Japanese wife said there is no use for a ruler if it's not metric, so giving one would have to be with the intent of a decoration only. As for Hello Kitty goods, if the intent was to show an American-only item with that logo, ok, but they should also know what the Super Bowl is.

To say it is from all of you is probably unnecessary, but you can say "watashi tachi kara". Gesture so they know who the "us" is.
 
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madphysicist

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How are protractors metric or imperial? They measure degrees...period. If you mean rulers, I don't understand why. Who are these for? Japanese would have little to no use for them if they aren't metric.
Well many protractors have rads as well as degrees, though I wouldn't call either of those "US" or "metric" units. If you're visiting some Japanese who love surveying land and/or exotic units I guess you can get them protractors in gradians lol.
/scientist jokes

Seriously though, I do maths every day and even I haven't used a protractor since I was 16. Get them tea or biscuits or maybe those tiny jars of honey if you can find them. Even if you did mean rulers, you know that in countries that use metric we still often have inches on one side of our rulers and tape measures, right...?

I also wonder does one really need to bring omiyage for hotel staff, I've never heard of anyone doing that? Well I've never stayed in a hotel in Japan but I didn't think that was an omiyage-requiring situation.
 

Majestic

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I assumed the OP was coming as part of a tourism promotional organization, but yes, if just coming as a tourist the omiyage are unnecessary, and likely to be confusing to the hotel staff.
 

NancyM

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No, I didn't know about the dual-measurement rulers. I've about decided I'll never be able to think in metric!

To clarify an implied question, I'm going as a tourist and not as part of an organization. I'd like to be regarded as a well-mannered tourist, though, instead of clueless and/or obnoxious.
 

Mike Cash

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I'd like to be regarded as a well-mannered tourist, though, instead of clueless and/or obnoxious.
That's admirable, but I think you may be taking the gift giving to extremes regarding who you feel you have to schlep stuff over here for. If it isn't someone you know personally or in a professional capacity or at whose home you will be visiting/staying, then the absence of a gift won't even be noticed, much less the cause of you being thought clueless or obnoxious.

It sounds like you read about the omiyage custom and are just a bit over-eager to engage in it. Trying to go with the local flow is a good thing, in moderation, but try to avoid the urge to "out-Japanese the Japanese".

All you really need to bring with you is open-minded curiosity, a pleasant disposition, a warm smile, and the ability to say "thank you". You don't even need a pocket to carry those around with you.
 

Majestic

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↑ I strenuously second all the above, and please bear in mind that not even the most Japanese of Japanese guests would bring omiyage for hotel staff, waiters and waitresses, taxi drivers, etc...
 

WonkoTheSane

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When I moved into my new place I gave my neighbors in the apartment on each side a little bag full of saltwater taffy. Mostly because I'm on a diet and it's been staring at me for months. As I think about it, it's pretty old taffy and my neighbors are no spring chickens. I should probably look at the box to make sure there's no expiration date...

Next time I guess I'll give them bath salts.
 
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