Valentine’s Day in Japan

In Japan, men do not typically take women out on Valentine’s Day. It is the opposite. It is only the women who give chocolate to men in Japan. Young Japanese women often use this opportunity to share their feelings for men. I am not quite sure how it is nowadays, because I have not lived there for so long. But when I was in high school, I remember some of my friends giving handmade chocolates to boys whom they are interested on Valentine’s Day.

Just like Christmas, Valentine’s day is another commercial day for Japanese companies. They can boost their chocolate sales before Valentine’s day. If men want to return a favor, or like the girl, they can give candies on a day called “White Day” (March 14th), and again this is a great commercial day. Also there are things called Giri-choko, which means obligation chocolate, and women give Giri-choko to their male colleagues, bosses, teachers etc. This is a great way to show genuine or obligated gratitude, friendship to your male colleagues, boss and of course your brother and father. The concept of “giri” is Japanese, but I think people have a sense of obligation in American society as well. For instance, many people give Christmas cards and gifts to their family members or even coworkers just to be polite.

We used to give nicely wrapped chocolates to my father. My father didn’t really eat sweets, so me and my sisters were secretly waiting for him to tell us that we can eat them. 😀 I am behind new trends in Japan, but there is a thing called “tomo-choco”, which means friendship chocolate..and girls exchange chocolates among their girlfriends.

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