Monday, May 05, 2008


Giving gifts is a big thing in Japan. Not big expensive gifts, but little things that are usually edible.

This is a sweet custom.

(Although i wonder about giving large gifts to people who then have to pack and fly across the Pacific with them.)

Below is one of the gifts The Mister and i received from the the family with whom Em's friend stayed. For size comparison, the scantily clad model holding this box is 5'5". The box is also about 4" deep. We first opened this on the Shinkansen (bullet train) traveling back to Tokyo the day before we left.

This is what was inside:

The box and its contents are both beautiful. But we weren't quite sure what it was.

Em's friend asked a nice Japanese man who was sitting next to us on the train. He told us that they represented the tiles found on top of traditional Japanese houses.

Still slightly puzzled, i asked "But, is it food?"

He started laughing and said that Yes, it was in fact, food.

It's a cookie! Three of them in fact, nestled together, shrink wrapped, wrapped in bubble wrap and placed lovingly inside the box.

They tasted like fortune cookies.

We also received a box of chocolates, some strawberry filled cookies, and a large Hello Kitty stuffed animal.


Anonymous said...

that's almost too beautiful to eat! and tasting like fortune cookies to boot, are the chocolates divine?

100 Thoughts of Love said...

how different and lovely!

Heather said...

now that's some pretty food!

Lynnea said...

So they got you figured out!

Mrs. Chili said...


Seriously, though? Frame that box - it's gorgeous!

ms chica said...

That's neat. The box reminds me of Thai banana paper and japanese mulberry paper.

I'm such a fuckin' nerd.

Anonymous said...

Well, so I doubt you know this because I doubt you were out climbing around on any roofs..but... are the rooftiles decorated like that cookie is? If so, I'm truly awed. (Well, I mean I'm awed anyway -- a cookie shaped like a rooftile -- who'd a thunk it?)

Girlplustwo said...

i'll just sit and wait for my gift, you know, the one you bought me on your trip.

Em said...

Very cool gift!

And who is this scantily clad model?? :)

ttq said...

Big ass cookie from little tiny people. That's a lot of cookie to eat even for us over-indulging Americans. Good thing you go into withdrawels when you don't get your afternoon cookie.

And of course you got something Hello Kitty, it's only proper. (says the girl with a stash of Hello Kitty merchandise boxed up under everybed in the house) It's a disease that I have, complete with a set of enablers that feed my cravings of "Hello Kitty"

Just when I think I have it beat someone will give me a new HK gift. Sickness I tell you, SICKNESS.

egan said...

I never would have guessed that was food.

Tink said...

That's my kind of cookie!! I like this tradition. When do we start?

Gordo said...

Wow, that's quite the cookie. I don't think I would have been able to eat them, they're too beautiful.

peevish said...

Wow! SO beautiful! Are you gonna eat them?

Anonymous said...

Those damned Asians will eat ANYTHING.

Bob said...

do you want what's in the box, or what Carol Merrill is holding?

the price is certainly right. FREE!

neato cookie. I would keep one of the 3 as a memento.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever would have guessed that was food! And of course, Hello Kitty made an appearance...

Antonia Cornwell said...

I love the rooftile cookie. Good for roofing gingerbread houses with.

No Japanese candy, though. Probably a good thing. I encountered some a couple of weeks back when my friend Helena brought some to the pub. There was a bag of what looked like chocolate nipples and tasted of strawberry, leading Ian to assert that his nipples taste like beef & onion gravy, and thus stopping the conversation dead.

sari said...

yum, food.

i like fortune cookies - I would've had a problem sharing, roof tile or not!

meno said...

holly, um, they were. :)

pat, very unusual! And so nicely packaged.

h.e., it was pretty. Now it's gone.

maggie, i know! Cookie monster.

mrs. chili, The Mister recycled it while i wasn't looking. :(

ms. chica, i think it was sone kind of rice paper. You are a nerd!

daisy, i didn't see any of the tiles decorated like that, but i must admit that i didn't look all that closely. A reason to return.

jen, Oh! I got you a gift. But i eated it.

em, that would be Em, em. In her jammies.

linda, god, they were EVERYWHERE! Like the plague.

egan, it SMELLED like food. But i was still skeptical.

tink, it was the world's biggest cookie! I like that in a cookie.

gordo, we somehow managed! I figured they would just go bad if we didn't.

peevish, all done. Wiping crumbs off face.

franki, you know, it wouldn't surprise me if these were somehow made out of fish.

bob, well, we probably should have kept one.......but......well, they were really good.

qt, i was glad that man was there to let me know for sure that this was food.

antonia, hmm, i might need to spend some time figuruing out what The Mister's nipples taste like. Maybe like a brandy tit.

sari, even i was unable to eat a whole one of these. Sad.

mamatulip said...

That is AWESOME.

Say It said...

what a cool tile. What a cool cookie! And the custom of giving food is a good one. Its practicle and leaves your friends full. What's better than that?!?!

Mignon said...

You can't criticize them for eating roofing tiles. We eat shit on a shingle.

Brad said...

My step father is Nisei and I've always been amazed at the wonderfull presentation of Japanesse gifts. The care and thought put into them are amazing.

That is one big cookie!

Princess in Galoshes said...

Hee, how was it wrangling the enormous Hello Kitty on your travels home??

Woman in a Window said...

Is that a good thing? Tastes like a fortune cookie... I usually eat fortune cookies 'cause I can't help myself and will eat anything someone says is edible. I'd eat the plate if I thought no one would look.

urban-urchin said...

that is a beautiful cookie- and larger than most things in Japan- these people must really like you.

Mona Buonanotte said...

That's it then, I'm going to Japan!

(Did you eat all the cookies? Or lovingly plastic-coat one and stick it up on your roof?)

Sienna said...

That is the biggest damn biscuit I have ever seen and that's fair dimkum!


Sienna said...

Dinkum, lay off the wine Pam

tt said...

For some reason I never acquired a taste for their sweets...they weren't sweet enough for me. People kept giving me candies that looked like they had powdered sugar on them but it was flour! Ucko!
That cookie was awesome though. You were highly thought of!

Clowncar said...

I'm with Antonia - first thing I thought was how cool it would be to use it for Christmas gingerbread houses.

Well, okay, first thing I though was "where's the scantily clad model?"

I assume you ate it if you know they tasted like fortune cookies. Couldn't have been easy to eat something so beautiful.

Liv said...

I love it, but could you bitch about something? I would feel more at home on this site. ;)

meno said...

mamatulip, but does it violate the "never eat anything bigger than your head" rule?

say it, there is nothing much that is better than a cookie!

mignon, this was better than SOS.

brad, it's a charming custom, but i wish they has given us something SMALLER!

princess, it was given to Em's friend, so i bravely let her deal with it.

womaninawindow, to tell you the truth, fortune cookies aren't all that tasty to me. But, like you, i eat them anyway, because they are there.

u-u, it was beautiful, but kind of delicate.

mona, you should go to Japan, it's cool. We ate them all.

pam. i knew what you meant. And it is the biggest cookie i have ever seen.

tt, we fell in love with mochi ice cream. Yum.

clowncar, it would sure simplify the making of the roof. he scantily clad model is hiding behind the world's biggest cookie.

liv, me? Bitch? As if!

luckyzmom said...

I would love to visit the bakery where they are making those things. I would never have guessed it was something to eat. So cool. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

It's all been said--my jaw is still agape and I'm still astounded that something that lovely could be a cookie. *g*

Diane Mandy said...

So cool! I love when my husband travels to Japan for business. The Japanese are always generous and gracious hosts and he always xome back with such cool stuff. I've never seen anything like that cookie, however!

Dick said...

Years ago we had two exchange student girls from Japan and they both brought us Japanese dolls in traditional dress that were about 24" tall and inside glass cases. They were different dolls. I always wondered how they got them safely to on the plane. I think they must have hand carried them. The glass surely would have been broken if they'd let the baggage handlers move them.

Andrea Frazer said...

I like Maggie's idea of framing the box.