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Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Omiyage" gifts

Someone asked me what is "Omiyage". I mention the word a couple of times in previous posts.

Well, the word and custom originates from Japan: The Art of Gift Giving. In Japan, there are a number of social obligations one of which is omiyage or roughly translated as "souvenir". Whenever you go on a trip, you are expected to return bearing gifts. They don't have to be expensive gifts. Since space is limited in Japan, these gifts are usually items that can be quickly consumed (i.e. candy, little cakes, sweets, etc). The actual gift does not matter for it is the "thought that counts."

I believe the gift of gifting came from Japan to the Hawaii plantation camps and, like many of the original customs, have hybrid into its own unique Hawaiian interpretation. If you are invited to someone's house for a meal, you bring an omiyage. If you go on a trip, you return bearing omiyage to office staff or loved ones. If you haven't seen someone for a long time, you come bringing omiyage. Little gifts to show you thought of them, you remembered them, or just because!

This is my little omiyage gift to a co-worker because she did something very nice and thoughtful. It is a cardholder filled with about 10 of my handmade cards and envelopes.

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