Opening A Box Of Japanese Cookies

Japanese
As I mentioned in a previous post, my wife recently came home from an astronomy meeting in Tokyo and brought back lots of Japanese snacks. One of them was this tempting box of cookies she got at a sweet shop next to the university.

My wife loves Japanese culture. She loves the orderliness and attention to detail, both important traits for a scientist despite media stereotypes, and she loves their exquisite sense of beauty. For some reason Japan has never drawn me. I prefer the ebullient chaos of Africa or the Middle East. I’m more Tangier than Tokyo.

Still, I won’t say no to a box of Japanese cookies, especially when they come so nicely packaged.Japanese
The Japanese like putting things into neat, decorated little packages. Once we broke the seal on this box and opened it, we found it sealed on the inside too.

When we opened that up we saw six varieties of cookies awaiting us. All neatly arranged, of course.

The white ones tasted like meringue and the green ones tasted like green tea. As for the four other flavors, well. . .I have no idea. My wife says she experienced lots of flavors she couldn’t identify during her week in Japan.

The cookies came with a handy leaflet explaining them all, but that was in Japanese!

Gifts From Abroad: What To Bring Your Family When You Come Home

gifts from abroad
My wife and I travel a lot, sometimes together, sometimes separately. We both have careers that require us to travel and while it can be tough to be apart, at least we have the regular ritual of seeing what gifts from abroad are popping out of each other’s suitcases!

My wife just came back from an astronomy meeting in Tokyo and brought back this haul of loot. The Japanese are masters of packaging, whether they’re being stylish and traditional or garish and modern. I wonder what a supermarket full of this stuff must look like. The panda head cookies are especially good. I’ve always wanted a bag of decapitated pandas. The T-shirt is for her, because she knows I’m fond of her “especially cuteness.”

What I forgot to include in this photo were the three bottles of sake she brought back. While I’ve always had my sake warm, she tells me it’s often served cold in Tokyo and that regulars have their own monogrammed bottle reserved for them behind the bar!

When I came back from writing my travel series about Greece, I brought her and my son lots of olives since they both love them. I also brought back some honey from Sparta. My wife adores honey and it’s a good gift to bring from abroad because it tastes different in every region. Of all the honey I’ve brought her from far-flung places, she’s liked the Spartan honey the most.

You’ll notice that we mostly bring back consumables. A great way to share the experience of your trip is to share some of the tastes. Also, we live in a European apartment (read: small) and we have too much stuff anyway.

What gifts from abroad do you like to give or receive? Tell us in the comments section!

gifts from abroad