Thursday, January 29, 2009


So this week, I have decided to tell you (read: rant) a little about a Japanese custom which is both painfully annoying and expensive but at the same time, it represents well what Japan and the Japanese are: Omi-fucking-yage.
Omiyage is the art of gift-giving. It is the worst scam since Valentine's day and Halloween. I wouldn't be surprised if Nestlé is somehow behind this.

When I arrived from Canada, I gave maple flavoured whiskey (40$) to a guy I haven’t seen since, who is now retired. Just 5 minutes ago, I gave 20 dollars worth of cookies to my co-workers because last weekend, I went snowboarding an hour away from here, in another prefecture. So because I ‘travelled’ I had to buy 2 packs (38 staff members and teachers at my present school) of waffled cookies in a nice little individual wrapping, to show them that I appreciate them and that (even if I never really was thinking about work) I was still thinking about them enough to dish out 20 bucks for them. I could have bought a lot of beer, a lot of electricity to make my apartment warmer but noooo, I have to bring back cookies for my co-workers. So in addition to the 120$ I spent in Canada for the various important people I met when I first got here, I have spent another 150$ on gifts from Tokyo, Yamagata-Zao, Zao, Naruko, Nikko and next week, I will buy some more from Sapporo because I am going to the snow festival up there.

How many times have I received omiyage? Maybe 4 times, some random energy drink that tastes like cherries and some shitty mochi... COME ON!
Oh and that’s not all, every time someone invites me for dinner to their house, I have to bring something, so yesterday, I brought 15$ worth of chocolate to a man who has diabetes (and no teeth). He invited me and Daniel to his house because he is the host father of the Australian kid at my school. So according to my calculations, at the end of those two years, I will have spent 600$ on cookies and chocolate because I get to travel because I don’t have a wife and because I’M NOT A PSYCHOPATH WHO WILL SHOW UP AT 6AM ON A SATURDAY MORNING FOR KENDO PRACTICE!!! I’m sorry, I’d rather go snowboarding... and buy cookies to tell you I’m sorry.

P.S.: I still love you Japan, you just piss me off sometimes... xoxox


Thunderstorm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thunderstorm said...

Alors là, l'Omiyage est un produit culturel vraiment spécial! À moins que Nestlé produise beaucoup de chocolat en Asie, j'imagine que c'est Coca-Cola qui est derrière tout ça. Il me semble qu'ils sont partout dans le monde, depuis qu'ils ont inventé le Père Noël!

christian said...

I only buy Omiyage when I take nenkyu. If not, it just gets RIDICULOUS. I mean, I'm out EVERY SINGLE weekend.

I come back on Mondays and ask a dude in the office what he did: ''umm, nothing special. The usual. Sat in my apartment and played my guitar.''
And I know this guy isn't lying because he's pretty much the Japanese 40 year-old virgin.

I stopped telling them the truth about my weekends hehe.

Angela said...

Why don't you do like some...and write checks.