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BellaOnline's Japanese Culture Editor

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Valentine’s day in Japan

Guest Author - Joy Alari

If it’s the 14th of February and you’re a woman, then of cos your expectations would be high. You anticipate the dinner dates, the gifts, the gazillion boxes of Chocolates you aim to get and don’t forget the dozens of red roses to come your way, possibly all day .... but did you say you were in Japan?
Well you’re in for a rude shock, cos you won’t get any of those, rather you would be the one lavishing the gifts, cards and chocolates to your man, that’s right, cos its "Valentine day Japanese style".

The reason why men in Japan, get all the loving attention on Valentine’s Day, is because Japanese women are said to be in the shy department, especially in expressing love for their man, so this day was set aside in 1958, for all Japanese women to shower love on their male folk and don’t get to feel awkward about it.

You guessed right and indeed its very unlike what happens, in the other parts of the world but the message of love still remains the same. Well its customary on "Valentine's day Japanese style" for Japanese women, to give their beloved male folk, even co workers something special and there are two types of gifts, that Japanese women give out on Valentine’s day, there is the Giri-choco which is also known as the Obligation Chocolate.

Japanese women give this Chocolate gift, to only their male friends, co-workers and even their bosses. The Giri-choco is mostly given to men, that they have regular contact with. Japanese women generally have to buy, between twenty to even thirty boxes of this Giri-choco to give out.

The second type of gift for Valentine’s day, is called Honmei-Choco or Hand-made Chocolate, this is "the" special Valentine’s gift and its reserved for only that very special person. Usually home made, this means that a lot of love and care, must have gone into making the Honmei-Choco.

Honmei-Choco can also be bought from a store but it comes at a price, which is a lot more expensive than even the Giri-choco, other gifts such as ties or any item of clothing, usually accompany the Honmei-Choco on Valentine’s day.

Yes its a done deal, Valentine’s Day is a holiday solely for the male folk in Japan but the women aren't entirely left out, cos March 14th which is exactly a month later, Japanese women get their own special Valentine’s day and its called White Day.
Created in 1960 by a Marshmallow Manufacturing Company, this holiday gives Japanese men the chance, especially those who got gifts on Valentine’s Day, to reciprocate the loving gesture, by giving the women expensive Valentine’s day Gifts, such as chocolates and sweets.

The White Day holiday, was originally called Marshmallow Day, though not as popular as Valentine’s Day, its still unique as all gifts must come in white boxes, which is much more expensive than the Valentine’s day gifts.

You have to agree with me that the White Day holiday, really gives Japanese women the oppurtunity to feel appreciated and loved, as well as the chance to enjoy all those gifts and Chocolates, which I must say they’ve totally earned.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Joy Alari. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Joy Alari. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ching Kin Min for details.

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