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Brace Yourselves! Valentine's Day in Japan

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Next week, the weirdest day of the year in Japan is coming. Brace yourselves.

It's Valentine's Day.

Back in the US, Valentine's Day wasn't a big problem, even though I was always single. It was just a good excuse to get together with friends or decorate my office.

In Japan, it's totally different. You won't see any men in the chocolate department this week. That's because on Valentine's Day in Japan, women give chocolates to men.

And not just men one has a special relationship with, either! Women give chocolates to all men they have any kind of a relationship with, including co-workers. Can you imagine how odd it feels as an American woman to give Valentines chocolates to tons of men? Young men, older men, middle-aged men, married men, single men, aauugghh! In my office of 33 people, only 4 (including me) are women.

There are different levels of chocolates. If you want to declare your love, you give honmei-choco (true feelings). Honmei-choco would be a fancier chocolate present. If you don't want to declare your love, you give giri-choco (obligation), which is less fancy. But you can't really say, "Hi, co-worker! Here is some giri-choco for you!" You just have to assume that they can figure out which one is which. This is why I give matching chocolate to all.

Many women make homemade and hand-decorated chocolates, to which I reply, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" Sorry, got a little carried away there.

One month after Valentine's Day is White Day. On March 14, men are supposed to give cookies back to the women who gave them chocolates. But I ask you, shouldn't it be pie? Ahahaha - sorry. (3.14 = pi. Heeheehee).

As you can see, Valentine's Day in Japan is a little...unique. Oh, well. I'm thinking about getting sick that day. OK, just kidding!
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