There is actually a St. Valentine’s Day celebrated in Japan, but it’s the women who give the chocolate! Ho ho! How about that one?
For a single guy such as myself, it’s usually one holiday that I happily let pass. And the nice thing about Japan, is that since the emphasis is on women giving the chocolate, I have no pressures or obligations. All I have to do is avoid any women who I’m not into coming toward me with a gift-wrapped box.
The twist on this gift-giving and St. Valentine’s Day is that whoever receives chocolate on February 14, must return a similar gift (not the same box!) back on “White Day”, which is exactly one month later (March 14). This is where it evens out, ne?
One other twist is something called giri choco (“obligation chocolate”). This is chocolate that’s given over simply because chocolate was received. Obligation is the “giri” (gee-ree) part. In my time here, I still haven’t gotten it straight who the obligation falls on, and whether or not you do anything else to signal that it’s really “giri” chocolate, or whether it’s the real hey-baby kind. I could see how that could get really confusing if the wrong signal happens to be sent.
I’m not sure what the deal is if you get guy chocolate, either. Fortunately, I’ve avoided that too. I guess that would be “guy-ri” chocolate. Or “gay-ri” maybe.
Just like Japanese Christmas, Valentine’s is a holiday that is just there for the foreign people who want to make it into something, without all the pressure that comes from being in the midst of such a time back homeside. You are totally out of it anyway, and so it doesn’t much matter what goes on.
It would be nice if the rain would let up, though.