Last week had everyone’s favorite holiday: Valentine’s Day! Woohooo~ No, but really, Valentine’s Day is only as horrible or as fantastic as you make it. And in Japan, the extremes of each can really happen.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated differently in Japan, and if you’ve ever watched a school-based anime or Japanese movie/drama, then you probably know the gist of it already. In Japan, only women give men chocolate for this holiday, and there are many different types of chocolate. For example, there is obligatory chocolate, as in for co-workers and bosses; chocolate for friends; and chocolate for love interests. There’s also a reversal chocolate, which is chocolate given by guys, so it’s not the case that men don’t give chocolate, but it’s rare.
One of my teachers here at Kansai Gaidai helped explain all these different types of chocolate, and she talked about how it may seem like a lot of trouble for the females to be buying/making all this chocolate and then getting up the courage to give chocolate to someone they actually really like and want a relationship with. However, she also told us that it’s just as hard on guys, because it becomes a competition for which is the most popular guy, a.k.a who gets the most chocolate from the ladies. ;P
Our sensei told us that her younger brother wasn’t very popular so that he would always get chocolate from her and their mother, and sometimes, that’s all he got. When her brother’s friends would compare (“I got five. How many did you get?” “I got three. You?”), he always was able to say at least he got two, although he never said they were from family. So sad! Poor kid!
The weekend before this chocolate-intense holiday, my shackmates and I melted bars of chocolates, put them in molds of hearts, flowers, and cute animal heads, and then we let them cool putting them into cute pink and red bags to hand out to all our friends. It was pretty fun, and I really hope that maybe the custom of “making” chocolate will catch on in America.
Valentine’s Day in itself was also fun. I gave chocolates out to friends, and I received some home-made goodies, too. Homemade chocolate just shows a lot more personalization and time and effort than just buying chocolate, so I feel like I really got more out of it here then back at home. I gave some love chocolate to Andrew, and he liked them, but I’m pretty sure there are leftovers still waiting for him in the fridge, ha ha.
Now I did give chocolate, friend chocolate, to some guys, but you see, I’m not giving the wrong message—I’m investing. Another interesting thing about Japan that’s related to Valentine’s Day is another holiday, White’s Day. White’s Day is on March 14th, and on this day, most guys have to give obligatory chocolate to all the ladies who gave them obligatory chocolate, and if they liked a girl who also liked them enough to give them love chocolate, this is the day they can reciprocate and let the lucky lady know of his feelings for her, too. Thus! I am hoping to get some White’s Day chocolate in return…I’m hoping…heh heh. At least Andrew better give me some since he was very Japanese and didn’t give me chocolate this year.
*Note: The descriptions of the types of chocolates are very basic and not very detailed.