Gift Bags

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When we arrived at our convention hotel in Osaka, our convention registration packets were waiting for us. These contained our badges, convention programs, transportation guide, and other essentials. They also contained coupons for the gift bags that we would have to pick up at the convention site, along with my Voting Delegate credentials and the tickets I had ordered for the Park Festa event. When we attended the Opening Ceremonies, we saw many convention-goers carrying the attractive gift bags they had already collected. Most of these were Japanese, since their gift bags were being distributed at the Osaka Dome (delegates from other countries had to pick theirs up at the Convention Center).

Like many other aspects of the convention, the gift bags indicated a tremendous amount of thoughtful planning and effort in preparation. Made of navy cotton broadcloth, they are fully lined, with a zipper closure and patch pockets inside and out. Although the bags are not unique, several different prints had been used for the trim, so that those in any given party received bags that were slightly different, and each bag included a paper luggage tag that could be used to identify it.

The contents of the bag were an amusing potpourri of useful and intriguing items, as follows:

  • A folding paper fan from Tasaki jewelry company, with a photo of the Niagara Falls Akoya pearl necklace, accompanied by an advertising sheet from Tasaki. The fans definitely came in handy, as it was quite warm in Osaka and in many of the convention venues.

  • Folding paper opera glasses advertising Shiseido Uno. These were also useful, but even if they had not been, the enclosed instructions provided amusement.

  • A package of Pocky snacks. I have seen these described as pretzel sticks, but to me they seemed more like breadsticks. In any case, they are candy-coated. Although they come in a variety of flavors, the original flavor was chocolate, and I gather that is what most people got. Chocolate would probably have been pretty good. Ours were strawberry, and the best I can say is that they came in handy when we were starving!

  • A plastic container of Kaoru Buresu Kea (Breath Refreshner Capsule), Fragrance Breath Care, green apple flavor. These are sort of like TicTac except that they are tiny gel balls.

  • A Kokuyo plastic eraser. My experience with Japanese polymer erasers is that they erase surprisingly well, but I was not sure how functional this one would be given the strange shape, which was a rectangular solid with cubic bites taken out of the sides in a sort of checkerboard pattern. As it turned out, when I became addicted to sudoku puzzles and started using it, it proved to be surprisingly useful.

  • A four-color Osaka map showing convention venues and hotels. This would have been even more useful if I had actually used it. Unfortunately, we received so many Osaka maps that I tended to shuffle through all of them without actually looking at any.

  • A clear plastic folder from Octon. This was useful for keeping the map in.

  • A flyer for the Sagawa Art Museum, with two art postcards and two ticket coupons.

  • Kansai brochures and map, Osaka North Area Map

  • A coupon for free rail passes: when we collected these, we also received a Welcome! Kansai Guide Book and Guide Map from Yokoso! (Welcome!) Japan, as well as a brass bookmark from Yokoso! Japan.