My funny V… Day

Happy Valentine’s Day to Myself – I Love You

Did you know Valentine’s Day (VD) is so different in Japan that it is almost a different type of the day? I thought it may be interesting for me to tell you about it.

In short, congratulations if you are gentlemen, commiserations if you are ladies! 

Disclaimer…since I haven’t lived in Japan for more than 20years, it could be a different story now – and I don’t care, really…

By the way, when did VD become so popular here in Australia? I am pretty sure it hardly existed…say, 10 years ago? Nowadays, it is very hard to book a table at a nice restaurant on the VD

Back to the story…

VD in Japan has a longer history than Aust. It already existed when I was a kid (80s).

You may be surprised to hear this…it is almost strictly from the girls to the boys affair. Girls give something to boys.

And what kind of stuff the girls give to the boys? Chocolates, of course! Not sure if this is true or not, the VD in Japan is initially promoted by a confectionary company to boost their sales – and it has been indeed successful.

Traditionally, VD is the only acceptable day in Japan for a girl to tell her affection to a boy. I guess Japan being quite conservative society, a girl to say “I like you so much! Please be my boyfriend” would be quite an outrageous action.

When I was a kid, VD was pretty much a schoolyard affair – don’t think adults did so much on the day. So normally at school, a girl would leave a chocolate with a card on her beloved’s desk, locker or shoebox. This type of chocolate is called (honmei-choco) – “The serious chocolates”. She would find the best chocolates according to her budget. Even more, some girls will make original chocolates. Power of love, huh?

Wait, there’s more. Japanese girls/ladies are extremely nice, they give away chocolates to other boys/guys as well, even though she is not interested in them at all. Well, not every single guy of course, but your classmates, colleagues, bosses…someone you are dealing with day to day.

This type of chocolates are called giri-choco – “The obligatory chocolates” and they are strictly budgeted – you have to buy large quantities and why should you buy very expensive chocolates to your silly classmates/colleagues/bosses anyway? I feel sorry for all the office ladies who had to buy a fair amount of the chocolates for her co-workers…

Did I get honmei-choco? Well, I wish I could tell you something like;

“Well, back in my school days, I was swamped with so many chocolates, I couldn’t eat them all!”.

But in reality, all I got was a few giri-chocos – sorrow!

OK, I can hear the cry from the ladies:

 “This is not fair for women! Outrageous!!” I get it! Don’t worry, the chocolate manufactures have an answer for you!

Chocolate companies wanted to make more sales – so what did they do? Made “White Day” on 14 March.

“White Day” is completely opposite to VD. Boys need to return the favour to girls. From my vague memory, you are supposed to buy white chocolate hence the naming.

However, because Japanese guys are lazy, White Day is not as big as VD. But I guess it still makes chocolate manufacturers smile.

I wonder what’s VD like in Japan nowadays? I am sure it is still girls-to-boys stuff but are they evolving more? This is something worth researching, until next time.