Valentine’s Day in Japan
Men from around the world will either love or dread this month, regardless of relationship status. In this month, it usually calls for a combination of pre-planning (or mostly last-minute planning) and a handful of cash for the men to whip up something unique and romantic for their sweetheart. Roses and fancy dinners are the typical standard and usually flower orders and restaurant bookings are snapped up pretty quickly during this period. If you are still searching for a unique gift for your sweetheart, embrace your Japanese alter-ego now! You might be intrigued to know that in Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated very differently: the women present gifts to men.
Wait, what? Women present gifts to men?
Dated back in the 1950s, women confessing their love to a man was considered a taboo. That is why, Valentine’s Day in Japan was established to be a great opportunity to let women express their feelings. Hence,in Japan, women will give chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day.
Giri vs Honmei Choco
In Japan, careful considerations are made for the selection and purchase of Valentine’s chocolate. It is very important to understand the difference between Giri and Honmei chocolate.
Giri choco – ‘obligatory chocolate’
Honmei choco – ‘true love chocolate’
Giri choco are given to male co-workers or colleagues in expression of friendship or gratitude. Honmei choco are given to husbands, boyfriends or a potential love interest. Some women even prefer to make Honmei choco on their own, rather than purchasing it from a store, as an expression of their devotion. So whether you’re the giver or receiver, don’t get your signals crossed!
But men are not off the hook just yet. Exactly one month later, on 14th March, men are expected to return gifts to women from whom they received the chocolates from the month before. This occasion is known as White Day and the gifts are usually wrapped in white and blue. Cool huh?!