eacat wrote:I know when you go on a trip, you're supposed to bring Omiyage, but who do you bring it for?
What should you bring to your first day of work? How do you break the ice with your colleagues, especially if your Japanese is limited?
Any suggestions for classroom prizes or what else to bring from the States?
1) Pretty much everyone. Generally you get a big box of something edible for your office.
2) Omiyage. First the big box o` edibles, and maybe half-a-dozen small things like pins or bookmarks or mini paperweights for the important people in your office. Expect to be surprised by who you're expected to give to, which is why it's good to be prepared beforehand (because if your pred didn't tell you about Important person X and you're caught without an omiyage, mostly everyone gives you a "oh, why didn't you know?" sort of look. The situation isn't unsalvageable, so don't worry if that happens, it's just embarrassing).
As far as breaking the ice goes: food and weather. Everyone will be fascinated to know if you eat bread or rice for breakfast, if you can use chopsticks, if you like sushi/natto/soba/etc. Everyone will be agog at the temperature differences between your home and Japan. Expect much giggling and "Really?!" After that, you'll have work to discuss with them.
3) Candy. A big ol' bag of starburst or jolly ranchers, small things with English-language wrappers. Do NOT train them to expect it, but as a prize, they will love it. Stickers also go over really well. I have a friend who uses clear files and rulers, too, so feel free to get creative if it's small, colorful, and has English on it. But if you're not feeling creative, the gold standard are stickers and candy.
"Am I missing something?" asked Annabelle.
"I think you're missing a lot of things," Jimmy replied.
-From "Demon of Renaissance Drive"