お土産を買いました。I bought souvenirs.
Well yesterday I had to run some errands with a friend, so we took a quick trip out to the stores in Orlando. I figured this was the best time to get my omiyage.
お土産 【おみやげ】 (n) (pol) present; souvenir – omiyage
In Japan, this is a highly expected tradition and/or protocol. Typically, whenever one goes on a trip, it is common for them to bring back something to share with co-workers and friends or family. Usually, the omiyage is a specialty food item, famous and exclusive to the region one visited.
Me bringing something from Florida will be a great way to start off my new working relationships in Japan. However, there is a problem. What food is famous or exclusive to Florida? Well, citrus fruits are about the only thing that spring to mind. Obviously it is not at all practical for me to attempt to bring a crate of oranges with me. So what’s the next best thing? Raid the overwhelmingly tacky tourist shops in Orlando.
For those of you who have never lived or visited central Florida, you must understand this is the number one tourist destination on earth! I can’t even begin to explain the level of recreational activities that abound. Nor can I begin to describe the massive amounts of gift shops. Some of these shops are the size of whole supermarkets, brimming with 10 T-Shirts for $10.00 and every magnet, key chain, and paperweight you can dream up.
Though I love and appreciate traveling, the tourist factor of Orlando is definitely overwhelming for us locals. Cheesy doesn’t even begin to describe the touristy atmosphere. So the thought of actually stepping foot in one of these stores made me a little queasy. But where else would I find cheap, stereotypical Florida-esque gifts to my new colleagues? There was nothing for it. I had to enter the domain of tourism.
I desperately wanted to try and get something as non-pathetic as possible. I tried really, really hard. But in the end, the cheapest, easiest things I found were boxes of salt water taffy. The boxes are extremely Florida-esque. I bought four boxes, one for each school that the teachers can all share amongst themselves. I also bought postcards to show everyone while they are enjoy their taffy. Talk about playing up the Florida stereotypes! But I think it should suffice.