Be My Valentine… Here’s Your Chocolate

Valentine’s Day in States in my eyes:  the prices of roses rise, the heart-shaped boxes full of chocolates appear in various shops, there are specials on jewelry, packages of Valentine’s cards can be found on store shelves.  The day is one for guys and girls to share their love and affection with one another.

Zipping over to Valentine’s Day in Japan… it’s a VERY different story!

Though Valentine’s Day was introduced in the late 50’s, it wasn’t until about 1970 that it became somewhat well-known.  The confectionery companies in Japan decided this would be a day when women could express their feelings to men they liked/loved by giving a gift of chocolate.

Remember… this was way back when during a decade when Japanese women were rather shy.  Not to say there aren’t shy women here now, but the younger generation has become somewhat “Westernized” and they are more vocal about their feelings, opinions and such.  🙂

So anyway… as a child, I remember the department stores and little gift shops filling their shelves with cute boxes of chocolates, decorated in a way that was appealing to women, yet, were given to men.  And ONLY from women to men!  Then another confectionery company came up with the idea of “White Day” (March 14th), but we’ll get into that explanation in a month.  🙂

Fast forward to 2012… the customs for this chocolate-filled day haven’t changed very much.  I guess the slight changes in recent years have been these additions:

  • “Giri-choco” – Chocolates given to male co-workers and classmates, not because of romantic feelings but because you feel obliged to do so.
  • “Honmei-choco” – Ones given to a guy whom you truly like/love.
  • “Tomo-choco” – Ones given to female friends as a sign of friendship.

A friend who has a flower shop told me that their business has a new trend… sending flowers has become popular from a couple of years back.  When I told her how it is in the U.S., she said, “It would be AWESOME if that happened here!”

Can’t really say that one way is good and the other is bad… just that it’s different.

Does anyone out there have any special memories of Valentine’s Day?  (Good or bad…)

One for me is from middle school.  I was unsure of the relationship I was in at the time and was thinking of breaking up with my boyfriend… it was right around Valentine’s Day.  Thought to break up on that day was too cruel, so I broke up with him the next day.  (I know, I know… that’s just as bad.)  Had the chance to apologize to him about it recently… funny thing is he didn’t remember it was the day after and wondered why I was worried about it all these years later.  🙂

Anyway… I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day regardless of how you celebrate the day!  (Ours here in Japan will be over in about 2 more minutes…)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Squid
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 18:48:44

    In the UK, we have a bizarre dynamic between the forces of socially required cynicism, commercially generated expectation and a genuine desire to do something nice for someone you love. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself presenting your paramour with a Christmas card containing a dirty lymeric, and a bunch of spanners.


    • Birdie
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 19:01:45

      You are a character! I so love reading your posts and comments! 🙂

      Yes, I can imagine the same thing happening over here, too. I mean, it’s like Christmas Eve in Japan… all of the “love hotels” (very ritzy “motels”) are packed full of couples wanting to spend the evening together. (Has nothing to do with celebrating the birth of Christ.)

      Am surprised Valentine’s Day hasn’t become a busy time for the “love hotels”… in time, who knows…


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