Happy Valentine! Although there are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the Japanese style is the sweetest. Morozoff Ltd. introduced Valentine for the first time in 1936. It wasn’t until 1953 that promoting chocolates was the way to go. However, it wasn’t until Isetan started their “Valentine Sales” that chocolates became a hit from the sixties. As with all imported custom in Japan, the way they celebrate Valentine day is quite unique. It’s the girls who give chocolates to their lovers, friends, and working mates! If you’re a woman in Japan, Valentine means that you’re going to spend your salary buying chocolates!
Office ladies need to buy chocolates for their mates and bosses. These gifts are called “giri-chocos,” because they’re a duty. However, the true ones are “honmei-chocos.” So, depending on where you work, how many male friends you have, you can end up buying tons of Kit Kats. Why do I say, Kit Kat? Because the brand is famous for creating unique chocolates all year round, and yes, there’re also Valentine versions of Kit Kat.
When I was in Japan, this was a pain. Being a foreigner excuses you from following any rules. However, it’s a kind thing to do to give chocolates to your mates during Valentine’s Day. The only way to avoid that is to have a sick day at home, really. Anyway, I didn’t have that many “giri-chocos” to give away. However, I found that keeping up with giving away chocolates during Valentine’s Day is a great idea.
If you’re super lost about what to give, choose lovely heart-shaped chocolates. And, if you have some spare time, you can create the chocolates yourself. Since I usually have no time for baking, I always end up buying them. No one expects me to give chocolates during Valentine in Europe. And yet, here I am doing so. While Japanese guys are waiting for the chocolates like Xmas and may marketing promotions boom during this day, their European counterparts are happily oblivious.
Girls in Japan also exchange “Tomo-choco,” or friendship chocolates. This is like in Finland, where friends exchange cards (or small presents) during this day. As it happens, it’s the Friends Day in Finland. So, if you have any girl friends from Japan or Finland, you could give some small tokens today too.
So, can Valentine’s Day be the ruin for you if you’re living in Japan? If you’re a girl, yes. However, one month later there’s the White Day. The first time Japan celebrated a White Day was back in 1978. The National Confectionery Industry Association call it the “answer day.” If you get chocolates for Valentine’s day, you should give an answer one month later. That’s on March 14. Ishimuramanseido, a confectionery from Fukuoka, called this day Marshmallow Day. But the name that finally caught on was White Day.
There’s only a catch. Whoever got “giri-choco,” (obligation chocolates) doesn’t need to answer during White Day. That means that men only need to reply to “honmei-choco.” Which is considerably unfair, to be honest. So, men don’t spend as much money in chocolates as their female counterparts. But they don’t need to answer just in chocolate, they can give away other types of presents.
I gave “honmei-choco” to my loved one. And I reminded him that in a month I expect something for White Day. This is a great way to survive Valentine Day if you’re a guy and tend to forget dates like this one. It’s also a great way to blackmail and torture someone sweetly for a month. (Call me Loki!)
So, how are you going to celebrate Valentine’s Day? With chocolates? A romantic date? A geeky endeavor?
Copyright: Images on this post (C) Fate/Grand Order (FGO) / Memes & Gifs (C) by their owners