Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Omiyage: A Traveler’s Thought

2012-06-09 14.06.42

Omiyage is a Japanese term for a gift you bring back from your travels. In Hawaii, a popular destination for the Japanese, many local companies sell products specifically packaged for omiyage. They are usually edible items, more elaborately packaged, often in small portions for sharing. Every town I’ve visited in Japan has their local delicacies using ingredients they are famous for, or in shapes or forms that represent monuments in town. You cannot be caught without omiyage items when you return to your office or your relatives and close friends from your travels. There are also inedible versions of the omiyage, like T-shirts with the city name, that you might give to your friends. Some keepsakes, however, we purchase for ourselves to remember our visit: keychains, snow globes, spoons with the city’s insignia on them.

Having moved several times and preferring a smaller abode, I tend not to buy any keepsakes for myself. For me, the perspectives you bring back from my travels serve as my omiyage. It’s as if I’ve purchased a new filter on my senses (or perhaps my existing filter got cleaned). Things feel different: the vivid sensation of the warm air that hugs you after you land at the airport, the fresh set of eyes with which you see your own neighborhood, the familiar sound of perpetual construction on Kapiolani Blvd., all of it. They feel different because I’m different.

Like the fancy-shaped cookies that are specially packaged, the filter doesn’t necessarily last long. But the choices you make subsequent to your travel, because of the new found wisdom, will not be ephemeral. Somewhere in the back of my mind, there will be a small memory of my travel experience sometimes obvious, but all of it definitely in my subconscious like a snow globe collecting dust in the attic.

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This entry was posted on March 17, 2015 by in Japan, Travel and tagged , .
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