pron: om-ee-ah-geh

A small gift in the Japanese business context.

A very nice way to assist smooth commerce with one's Japanese business partners is to offer a small gift, or omiage, at the conclusion of your first and important subsequent meetings.

Some tips on omiage-giving:

• Think about your omiage. A gift with a high value may cause embarassment. A small token from your home country or culture is appropriate. Think quality

• Don't go overboard, but wrap your omiage beautifully, and avoid white, black, or grey paper, as this will signify funerals.

• Don't give gifts in sets of 4 or 9, which are also death-associative.

• Ensure that all attendees to the meeting receive a gift.

• Be persistent when your contacts initially refuse the gift. Smile and persist, as this is a natural dynamic in doing business in Japan.

• Don't be offended when your new Japanese friends decline to open the gift in your presence. To do so would make them appear greedy. Just smile!

• If you're really stuck for ideas, whisky will always serve your purposes well.

Above all, enjoy the process! It is a rare treat that can cap a meeting off beautifully.