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Fri Feb 8, 2013, 04:52 PM

Valentine's Day in Japan

How the Japanese Celebrate Valentine's Day

Do you have any plans for Valentine's Day? Is there a special way of spending this time in your culture? In Japan, it is only the women who give presents (mainly chocolates) to men. Japanese women are usually too shy to express their love. (Though it might not be true nowadays.) Therefore, Valentine's Day was thought to be a great opportunity to let women express their feelings. However, this is a custom that smart chocolate companies spread to boost their sales, and it has been very successful. Now the chocolate companies in Japan sell more than half of their annual sales during the week before Valentine's Day. Men are supposed to return gifts to women on a day called "White Day" (March 14th), a Japanese creation.

Does it sound good to you? Don't get too excited when you get chocolates from Japanese girls! They might be "Giri-choko (obligation chocolate)." Women give chocolates not only to their loved ones ("A true love" chocolate is called "Honmei-choko.") "Giri-choko" is the chocolate given to men such as bosses, colleagues or male friends that women have no romantic interest in, just for friendship or gratitude. The concept of "giri" is very Japanese. It is a mutual obligation that the Japanese follow when dealing with other people. If someone does you a favor, then you feel obligated to do something for that person.

Unlike the West, sending a Valentine's cards is not common in Japan, and the phrase "Happy Valentines" is not widely used. "Happy Birthday" and "Happy New Year" are common phrases. In this case, "Happy ~" is translated as "~ omedetou ."

Speaking of love, which color do you think is the color of love? Many people would probably say it is red. Heart shapes are usually red, and red roses are romantic gifts. Red can also represent passion, revolution, fire, blood and so on.

more http://japanese.about.com/od/japanesecultur1/a/Valentines-Day-In-Japan.htm

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Valentine's Day in Japan (Original post)
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 OP
freshwest Feb 2013 #1
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #2
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #3
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #4
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #5
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #6

Response to AsahinaKimi (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 04:59 PM

1. Used to get Valentine Day chocolate from my Dad. Do Japanese parents gift kids on special days?

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Response to freshwest (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 05:02 PM

2. I am not sure..

Maybe Art_From_Ark or Bonobo san would know. Normally at Xmas and on Birthdays..not sure about "Balintines day"!

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 10:36 PM

3. Birthday presents are common in Japan

A lot of (probably most) Japanese families don't give each other presents for Christmas, but on New Year's Day children will usually receive money, called "o-toshi dama", in a special envelope.

Some parents will also give their kids something special for Valentine's Day, like a small cake from a shop, and all the Japanese kids I know are at least familiar with the concept of Valentine's Day, but they often seem confused about the concept of kids exchanging Valentine hearts.

There are also two times during the year, summer and winter, when adults will give each other gifts, usually prepackaged sets of snacks, meats, even cooking oil or beer.

Anyway, I might get some "giri choco" this year.
Unfortunately, it's been years since I got any "honmei choco".

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 07:49 AM

4. Well, Valentine's Day has come and (nearly) gone here in Japan,

and I didn't get any giri choco, after all. I did get a couple of senbei crackers and a couple pieces of nodo ame, though

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 10:10 AM

6. So I *did* get some "choco" today after all

Granted, it's not the kind I can actually eat, but it's the thought that counts And you can expect to receive a similar box of goodies for White Day Tanoshimi ni matteite ne

With that, my day ends on a high note. O-yasumi nasai

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