If you ever visit Japan, it’s good manners to bring gifts called omiyage (oh-mee-YAH-gay) to Japanese you will be visiting or who you might encounter. Some items, like boxes of chocolates, beef jerky, and macadamia nuts from Hawaii are so famous that they’re almost cliched, but will still be appreciated by anyone who receives them from you. Yasu recommends you bring some items that Americans take for granted but which Japanese might find quite unique, like A-1 Steak Sauce or rare flavors of bubble gum. I think anything from your part of the world would make a good gift, and if your city or state is famous for something, a gift representing that is a good idea. One word of warning: giving gifts can expose you to a “gift war” in which you end up getting many more gifts than you can use, as Japanese are very serious about o-kaeshi, or giving a return gift when they receive one. I’ll be returning to Japan soon, so I’m on the lookout for interesting souvenirs for the J-List staff, who have worked so hard during my extended trip to the U.S. What cool American stuff you think I should bring them?
Which omiyage would you like?