Japan · Life in Japan

Omiyage, ESS Club & Halloween


Just as I had resolved to cut down on sweets and chocolates, this happened:

…not that I complained 😉

The ESS (English) club students at my one island school gave me omiyage today from their school trip to Taiwan. There are only 4 girls, yet I still left school today with so much stuff! I am still not used to this tradition of gift-giving of sweets and biscuits (referred to as omiyage) when coming back from travelling outside the prefecture/country. Everyone is so generous, and even at my base school there are two huge boxes of mandarin oranges just sitting in the staff room for anyone to help themselves to. Apart from the omiyage and free boxes of oranges, I was also given a bag full of fresh vegetables from my JTE’s garden. So you can imagine how heavy my bags were walking to the bus stop today.

ESS (English Speaking Society) club:

So I have two English clubs that I attend. One at my base school that has 6 students (all girls), and another at my one island school, which has 4 students (also all girls). At the island school we meet during lunch break, as it is the only time on a Wednesday that we can meet up. Not much English is actually spoken during that time because we are all eating lunch, but we do try to fit in a few English sentences here and there. One of the students always brings something for the whole group to eat, such as biscuits, jellies, or sweets. Though the other week she bought us little packets of dried baby fish. That’s baby fish… whole… with the eyes and guts still intact… but just dead, dried and shrivelled. As much as I am open to trying new food, especially while in Japan, I just cannot bring myself to eat something that is staring back at me. So I politely made my excuses and put the little packet into the depths of my lunch bag, where it stayed until I found someone else who would enjoy it more than me.

The other English club is at my base school, where we meet once a week after classes. I haven’t actually attended this club as much as I have wanted to due to exams, school trips, and public holidays. However, tomorrow we are finally meeting up for a Halloween party!


This is a relatively new thing in Japan according to my one JTE, who says she only started noticing Halloween goodies in the shops about 6 years ago. However, true to form, Japan has embraced the Western tradition of candy, costumes, and everything else scary (and cute) that Halloween has to offer. Prepare for Halloween goodies overload:

A bunny/witch from Baskin Robbins, made with pumpkin-flavoured ice-cream
And a cat/witch, as chosen by my fellow Halloween-goodies-finder in arms, Karin (see her own JET blog here!)
Pumpkin Kit-Kat, which can be grilled… yes, grilled, to form a melt-in-your-mouth caramelised bite of all things right in the world.
Every 2-block piece had a different design
The pumpkin Kit-Kat after grilling. As you can see my grill is a little uneven 😉
Halloween-themed sponge cake with red-bean paste (I think) and cream filling
And what is Halloween without pumpkins? I have been wanting to try this ice-cream ever since I heard about it. And it didn’t disappoint. Very delicious indeed 🙂

This week I have been doing Halloween lessons in all of my 15 classes, though as South Africa does not really celebrate Halloween as much as America or the UK do, I have focused mainly on the different types of monsters and spooky creatures that feature on Halloween, including my favourite: Zombies!

So, to wrap up today’s post, here’s a zombie cat with the cat count:

Official Onomichi Cat Count: 22


4 thoughts on “Omiyage, ESS Club & Halloween

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