With the end of any vacation period, the coffee table in my office starts to groan under the weight of boxes and boxes of cookies, chocolates, and other various goodies. In Japan, any time you go on a trip – whether it be for business to the neighboring prefecture or for a proper holiday – you’re expected to bring back おみやげ (“omiyage”), or some sort of present for your coworkers. Basically, it’s a way of saying, “Sorry you couldn’t enjoy it with me…here’s a cookie to make you feel better!”
Naturally my sweet tooth and I usually love these periods. Boxes have been steadily appearing in the office for the last several weeks, as teachers returned from their vacations before school started up again. But it was yesterday, when school resumed for the new semester, that the snack table got crowded. I got treated to snacks from Kyushu, Okinawa, Tokyo, Osaka, New Zealand…to name only a few.
This summer vacation, I really hit the motherload, thanks to the group of students who studied abroad in New Zealand for a few weeks. I helped them prepare for living with their host families, so in thanks, they and their teachers/chaperones brought me back a massive amount of Whittaker’s chocolate.
However, now I’ve got these ridiculously delicious, half-pound chocolate bars tempting me every time I open my refrigerator door…which wouldn’t be so bad, if not for the fact that I’m headed to the beach for a mini-vacation in a few weeks. Whittaker’s and my bikini don’t exactly play well with each other.