Omiyage Guilt

I went to Kagoshima hoping to see some ash, (y’know, because of the volcano), but all I saw was the inside of my hotel.  I had a good time, though.  I conducted a writing workshop, which I thought went pretty well, and met a lot of interesting people.

Yesterday morning I heard that a lot of flights were being cancelled due to snow in Tokyo.  There were some doubts about my own flight to Takamatsu.  I had a few minutes in which I could have bought the obligatory souvenirs, but I wasn’t sure what to get.  Apparently sweet potatoes  are big in Kagoshima, but so what? They’re big here, too.  I also saw a lot of sausage in the kiosks, but I was worried that I’d be stuck in the overheated airport of in some overheated hotel room if my flight was cancelled, and then the sausages might spoil.  Plus, I’d grabbed some cookies that were leftover from the convention, and I figured everyone would be happy with those. 

My flight, as it turned out, was on time.  Everything went swimmingly.  My husband said that there had been no fighting with his mother because, well, they hadn’t spoken to each other all weekend.  She popped over when I returned, but I was kind of tired and distracted and suddenly felt guilty about not having any Kagoshima-specific omiyage for her.   It occurred to me that the merlion cookies were too obviously from Singapore and that I couldn’t give them to her after all.

A couple hours later, which was around 10PM, she popped over and said she wanted to talk to my husband.  I herded the kids off to bed, while she told my husband that she wants to move out.  I thought, “Oh, no!  It’s because I didn’t give her any omiyage!”

Luckily, today there was a “Kyushu festival” at the local Sogo department store, so I popped in and got some black sugar products from the  Kagoshima table.  When I got home, I gave them to my mother-in-law.  Now everything seems to be fine.

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10 thoughts on “Omiyage Guilt

  1. So this is very big over there, Omiyage. It’s cultural differences like this one that are so fascinating about your blog…

  2. Sounds like a funny book in the making…. with potential film prospects… comedy is always a better way to deal with our issues or cultural specialities… food is another.

  3. Sounds like a funny book in the making…. with potential film prospects?… comedy is always a better way to deal with our issues or cultural specialities… food is another.

  4. I love reading your blog because it explains the inexplicable for me. When I was little and went to a slumber party or dinner at a friend’s house, I ALWAYS had to bring Omiyage. But they never brought Omiyage when they came to my house, which confused me. It’s so instilled in me. I just got back from NYC and had to bring some NY Danish Omiyage back for my mother (she was thrilled).

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