Omiyage, a gift for my host family

I'm trying to figure out what I should give my host family as a gift when I arrive.  I don't know anything about them yet, which makes it kind of hard to decide on anything.  I need something that is distinctly American.  I could go with food, but there's not much American food that isn't just borrowed from somewhere else, and what food there is wouldn't survive the trip.  I could get a decoration of some sort, like colonial-era glassware or something, but it would need to be small and I'd have to make sure to pack it extra carefully so it doesn't break.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'd appreciate some suggestions.


  1. ...go to one of those vendor carts in Washington, D.C. and get some Washington, D.C. T-shirts. Or go to the dollar store and get lots of stuff with the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, the American flag, etc. on it (quantity can be substituted for quality). Or maybe you could stop by a gift shop and get a book full of big, beautiful pictures of US national parks. Or nice American-themed calendars. The list is endless. A combination of the above items would be even better.

    Just one thing -- if you're shopping for uniquely American omiyage, STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING CONTAINING PICTURES OF THE SOLDIERS RAISING THE FLAG OVER IWO JIMA. This picture often sneaks its way into various patriotically-themed goods. The reason why you shouldn't buy this should be obvious...

    1. Thanks for the ideas. I'll look into some of those. I'll have to figure out when I can actually go out and buy something, too. I'm running out of time. :/

  2. Don't worry, international airports know that you'll have this problem. They stock lots of local souvenirs and omiyage in their "duty free" (i.e. "everything is marked up 300%) shops. So...if you don't get around to it before that, it'll be an option right up to your flight...but you'll pay more.