Workers at Tokyo firm on strike after boss bans omiyage gifts


Employees at Nippon United Tech Services are refusing to return to their posts after the boss of the firm, Mr Itsuki Hiraku, imposed a ban on all staff members from bringing omiyage to the workplace. For those unfamiliar with the concept, omiyage (お土産) are small gifts that Japanese people are expected to bring back to share with family, friends and coworkers following any trip, particularly after overseas vacations. Purchasing omiyage can be quite expensive (nobody wants to be the guy who only brought back a box of expired soda crackers), and the extra weight and space required to transport the souvenirs back to Japan can make the whole process very troublesome.

Staff at the firm are furious at the ban, and their spokesperson, Ms Yuu Moriko, has told our reporter that the strike will continue until omiyage is reinstated. “Omiyage is a vital part of the workplace in Japan, and if it’s banned I… Sorry, we won’t have a constant supply of chocolates and nail polish.” Ms Moriko declined to confirm if the rumor was true that she had never taken a holiday in her 24 years of employment with Nippon United Tech Services to avoid having to bring back omiyage. Mr Hiraku, CEO of the firm, explained to our reporter that the ban was precisely for that reason. “Our staff members, on average, only take 1 vacation day every 3 years,” he said. “By banning omiyage, I hope they will feel less burdened with bringing back shitty souvenirs from overseas and be more willing to take a relaxing break.”

However, with the strike entering its second week, Mr Hiraku did express some concern that omiyage may be more popular than he first thought. “I do recall we had an incident in 1997 when a vice president took a trip to Paris and didn’t bring back any expensive perfume for the secretaries. We’re still looking for where they hid his balls.”

In unrelated news, a foreigner at a Tokyo financial firm has been fired after an embarrassing accident at a nyotaimori restaurant, which prompted a nude model to exclaim “That’s not tuna!