Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — Dormancy and Omiyage

by Katy on March 24, 2012 · 10 comments

It’s time again for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

A Dormancy Explanation 

You may have noticed that The Non-Consumer Advocate has been sitting dormant over the past few days, and for this I’d like to apologize. I’ve been unbelievably busy this week. My mother had surgery, I had to work three days, there was an evening meeting at the kids’ school and the Japanese exchange teacher who lives with is leaving on Monday, (sob) so I’ve wanted to spend quality evening time with her. It all added up to some very long, very busy days that did not lend themselves to the quiet time that I need to write anything worth reading.

One of the nice things about writing this blog, is that I make the rules. I write about whatever I want, and when life gets in the way I’ll rerun an old post or occasionally not write anything at all. I’ve even been letting Saturdays be a blogging-free day, which has been nice for me.

But if you’ve been worried about The Non-Consumer Advocate this week, you can let those worries go. 🙂


Getting Ready for Japan

Yesterday marked the one-month mark until my two-week trip to Japan. I’ll be one of three parent chaperones for my son’s eighth-grade trip, and it sounds like it’s going to be rather fantastic. However, there are a number of things I need to acquire before going. Luckily, I think it will be completely possible to borrow not buy most of these things, which are:

  • One extra roll-aboard suitcase.
  • A watch both for myself and for my son.
  • A nice pair of slacks and a dress shirt for my son.

None of these items are things we need for the long term, and all are most likely easy to hunt down within our community of friends and family.

I also need to fine tune what we’ll bring as host family gifts. Although neither my son nor myself know that particulars of who we’ll stay with, I can start to figure out what to bring. Since I went through the same dilemma two years ago for my older son’s trip, I feel I’m pretty prepared. My plan is to bring mostly consumables, Goodwill-purchased coasters Mod-Podged with maps of Portland and all contained in some kind of handmade tote bag. Omiyage (Japanese host family gift giving) is a big deal, so it’s important to get it right. But since I’ve been the recipient of dozens of omiyage gifts from Japanese exchange students and teachers, it would be pretty hard for me to get it wrong.

Of course, my secret goal is it to keep the gifts lightweight and small.

Have a great weekend!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.

Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Practical Parsimony March 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Just curious, why do you need a watch? Most people, I read, use cell phones instead of time pieces.

When I taught English to a Japanese mother and daughter, they gave me a gift–small tin of hard candy. They said it was from the best store in Japan. Of course, they had to tell me because I am not familiar with stores in Japan. This family was brought to AL by a Japanese industry in our state, so they brought their Japanese small appliances–rice steamer and such.

Even though I did not want to speak the little Japanese I know because I was being paid to teach them and not brush up on my skills, one day, I surprised them by asking them to turn on the ac (I could not breathe because it was so hot in their house) and included “sumimasen” in my request. They were so excited because they did not know that I knew even one word of Japanese. I do know more than one word. But, I knew how polite that word is–please and thank you and a bit of a grovel thrown in. Well, that is what the Japanese guy taught us…lol.

I digress…again. Anything with the maps sounds great and lightweight.


Katy March 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

My son and I need watches because there will be many times when the kids head off on their own, to meet back at a certain time. Also, we’ll be taking trains and need to stay on schedule.

The kids are not allowed to bring phones.



Rebecca March 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Kind of surprised that as a nurse you don’t have a watch. We have many family members in the nursing fields and everyone has a watch they use every day for work.


Katy March 25, 2012 at 6:14 am

Because I wash my hands multiple times per shift, a watch gets in the way. I am never in a room without a clock, and the ever present computers all have the time on them as well.



Lsa H. March 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Hi Katy,

May I suggest that you bring maple syrup as part of the consumables? My daughter brought some when she stayed with a host family and they were thrilled, not something that they can get easily in Japan. We bought it in a maple leaf bottle which was pretty but a ‘plain’ bottle is nice too, you just have to pad it well AND put it in your checked luggage.



Erin March 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Just curious, what kind of gifts have you received? If ya don’t mind sharing that is. ( thanks for your blog, your a constant inspiration) =)


Jen March 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Just a comment — when we became acquainted with a Japanese family about 25 years ago (!) when our kids were little, they talked about how there wasn’t much/good chocolate in Japan, so they really appreciated gifts of good chocolate. Not sure if that’s still the case, though.


Erin from Long Island March 25, 2012 at 12:30 am

when at a loss, bring peanut butter and dark chocolate! trust me, i know!


Bauunny March 25, 2012 at 3:58 am

When my daughter traveled to Europe she brought photos of our family, our home (we live in the country and have a small Christmas tree farm) , etc. At Goodwill I often find small (I mean really small) photo albums so she printed them and put them in those. People are curious to know you and your life in the U.S. so it is both illustrative and a conversation piece. I also go to the book store and get picture books of Michigan so we can show where exactly we live and what is beautiful about our state. We still treasure some tiny baskets (modeled after the larger real ones) that a Russian house guest (from Siberia) gave us years ago. She also brought a deck of postcards from Siberia – and we were surprised to have our paradigm change as a result. We of course visualized only snow and wilderness ……but of course the post cards showed otherwise. You probably can get postcard packs of Portland that show the city and surrounding area.


Indigo March 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Sweets, tea, and images of your homeland are always suitable Omiyage. The key is to think of things not readily available in Japan. Whenever my friend Mimi (Michiko) is in the US she picks up loose leaf Earl Grey tea because it is so expensive in Japan and she always brings high quality Green teas as gifts since they are hard to find and expensive here in the south. Presentation is half of the gift. Omiyage is very much a ritual and an event. So wrapping them, using a pretty ribbon to tie it off, I find these things are anticipated and appreciated.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: