日本のバレンタインデーですが、世界のバレンタインデーと全く同じと思い込んたなのです(笑)。 日にち確かに同じ! ですが、男性のみがチョコレート頂くことが一つの驚き!
Some really surprising things about Valentines Day in Japan.
Wow! I can’t believe it’s already Feburary! The time since the last column has passed so quickly!
The first February I spent in Japan was just one surprise after the other!! What’s so surprising about February you may ask? Well its Valentines Day around the world including Japan.
Valentines Day is on February 14th, this is the same for Japan. I was under the impression the way Valentines Day was celebrated was the same in Japan as it was in new Zealand. No way! In Japan only men receive chocolates on the 14th. This fact alone made my jaw drop!
In New Zealand depending on the person of course, men and women, young and old give chocolate, cards and sometimes flowers to friends, loved ones and family.
Why doesn’t Japan do Valentines Day like New Zealand? I asked my friend. I was so surprised by the answer!
Japan has White Day. Held on the 14th of March exactly one month after Valentines Day, this is the day where the men who received chocolate will give biscuits or cookies to the females they received them from! I was a bit lost for words after hearing this. The system was totally different!
Enthused, I asked my friend what would happen if the guy was particularly popular and got a large quantity of chocolates from many different women? They, my friend explained, would be expected to give cookies back to each woman the following month..wow!
When I used to work for a recruitment company in Ginza I would walk by huge department stores that that area is famous for. In the lead up to Valentines Day each department store would make a special area for selling preboxed chocolates. I’ll never forget the images of customers that came to purchase chocolates and the extraordinarily long queues they made, sometimes waiting hours for certain chocolates just for that special day.
As I remember it, when I was living in New Zealand, Valentines Day still hadn’t gotten that commercial and sales oriented. I asked a Kiwi friend recently about Valentines as it in now in NZ and she mentioned that in some ways it had become more similar to America with a large variety of chocolates, cards and flowers for sale.
Back in Japan I was surprised once again by the Valentines DIY‘ers who would put alot of effort into making their chocolates.
The 100 yen shop prepares itself early for these types; stocking cooking chocolate, chocolate shapes, trays, foil cups, wrapping and giftboxes. Everything you would ever need if you wanted to attempt a go at making chocolates yourself! I look forward to their growing variety of products year upon year now too.
After the chocolate has been bought or made, I had yet another surprise which I had never heard of!
Chocolates for Valentines in Japan are roughly divided into two catergories. One category is giving to those to who you feel obligated to give to (giri chocolate) and the other is giving to those you want to give to (honmei chocolate)!
From the get go Valentines day in Japan has given me many surprises and chances to learn about Japanese culture. I think I’m finally getting used to it!
What do you like to do for Valentines Day? Do you make chocolate? Buy chocolate? Who do you give it to?
In the past I’ve made it but lately I’ve been buying it. I tend to give it to friends both male and female and more often than not just end up eating it myself!