Tuesday, October 2, 2007

omiyage at last

One long Randomata about Omiyage:
My parents were kind enough to bring some supplemental gifts from Vancouver, so I finally had to work up the nerve to give 'omiyage' to the staff of my office. Omiyage is the more or less obligatory exchange of gifts between coworkers at certain times. Especially when newly part of a team, one should definitely plan some gifts to help break the ice. After that, New Years and other holidays are somewhat prescripted times of giving. And it is a good idea, any time you take a trip somewhere special, to bring something small back for each of your coworkers (ie an individually wrapped goodie). That way, you can talk about your holiday without feeling bad, because everybody is sharing in the experience.
You are not contractually obliged to omiyage. You are not provided with a list of appropriate gifts or approximate costs, so it is a bit nerve-wracking trying to figure out what to give everybody. It is pretty obvious that you want to give a little bit extra to those on top of the ladder (ie principal, your department head). But how the heck was I to solve the conundrum of having 40+ coworkers to express my pre-emptive gratitude for?
Well, I gave the principal and vice principal bottles of canadian whiskey. I gave the english department head a slighty smaller bottle of canadian whiskey. I opened up a few boxes of tasty maple leaf-shaped Purdy's chocolates (thanks for bringing them mom) and quickly tossed them amongst the staff after a meeting before I could chicken out. I gave a little teddy-moose to a teacher who had been particularly welcoming and friendly to me, as a small sign of thanks. You can't really give just one person a gift, or focus too much on them. But as long as you give something to everybody, something extra to one person is ok.

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