Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Old Candy Critic Articles - Valentine’s Day the Japanese Way

I've decided to take down several old articles from the and re-post them here on the Candy Critic blog.  This week we look back at an article Allison wrote about how they celebrate Valentines Day in Japan.
Here in North America, when Valentine’s Day rolls around my girlfriends are either pining away about not having a boyfriend/girlfriend, or hoping that their partner will do something fabulous. Or at least that he hasn’t forgotten that the day exists.

Women in Japan, however, take matters into their own hands. Valentine’s Day there is not so much about who loves whom, but rather, it’s there for women to give chocolate to the men in their lives. These men can be boyfriends and husbands, sure, but also co-workers, bosses, or even “just friends”. Giving chocolate to a man on Valentine’s Day is in no way a declaration of a crush. It’s just a way to celebrate whatever the relationship is that exists.

Sounds a little fishy, I bet. I mean, these poor women spend their (considerably lower, usually,) salaries on chocolate for these men who just sit back and receive, right?

But wait. Japan has one more “love holiday” that we don’t. It’s called “White Day”, and happens exactly one month later, on March 14. This is when all men who received chocolate on Valentine’s Day can return the favour. Traditionally the return gift is a cookie (not one from a store-bought bag, mind you, but something nice). However, the gift can really be anything, including perfume or jewellery (the latter being the gift of choice of most of my Japanese girlfriends).

It is a system that I, personally, enjoy. There is none of the “will-he-or-won’t-he” doubt, and most certainly none of the “if-I-give-him-something-will-he-misinterpret-it” conundrum. Not to mention the “I-don’t-have-a-boyfriend-so-Valentine’s-sucks” lament. In Japan, it’s just a fun pair of holidays where people who know each other give each other goodies. And if I end up with some nice jewellery in exchange for a few chocolates, well, who am I to complain?

by Allison

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