Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Japanese way of Valentine's Day

In Japan, the meaning of Valentine's Day is a little different from the one in North America and Europe.  It is a day when a girl gives chocolate to a boy she loves.  It is a big day of confession for a girl, but it is only a girl who makes action and not vice versa.

When I spent one year at the university in Canada many years ago, I was very surprised that I received flowers or little gifts from my friends of girls.  It never happens in Japan.  In Western countries, the meaning of Valentine includes gratitude for someone you care regardless of sex, but in Japan, it is solely about love and confession from a girl to a boy.

 You may think that it is unfair that only girls give presents to boys, but to compensate this, Japan has something called 'White Day' one month after Valentine's day which is on March 14.  In White Day, boys give gifts to girls in return regardless of whether it was from the girl he likes or not.  It is manner to give back something to a person who gave presents on Valentine's Day.  In return of chocolate, boys give something 'white' such as marshmallows or cookies.

There is also something called 'giri-choco', duty-chocolate often at work occasion.  Lady workers give her men colleagues and bosses chocolates out of their sense of social politeness.  Ladies think it 'nice' and 'pleasant' to give chocolates to men workers and this helps to make more smooth and harmonized work environment.

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