Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's in Japan

Valentine's Day in Japan. Fellows, if you were over there, this would be a less anxious day.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and all throughout Japan men are looking forward to receiving the gift of chocolate from females around them, in keeping with the custom here. There are two kinds of chocolate a man can receive, the first of which is "giri choco" or obligation chocolate. which female coworkers might give to males they work with because they feel it's expected of them. Then there's the stuff that we all really want to get, "honmei choco" or "true heart chocolate," hand-made chocolates, cakes or other treats from our wives, daughters or girlfriends which show their love and appreciation for us. Of course, when you are given a gift in Japan you always have to give something back (this is called "o-kaeshi"), and so Japan's marketers have created White Day on March 14, a day when men who received chocolate must give something back (often white chocolate or underwear).

Not only could you enjoy the gifts, you'd have a month lead-time to realize what you'd been given and figure out the appropriate matching (or slightly better) gift to give in response -- and to go and get it.

I'm thinking of my buddies and co-workers here, who have been angsting for a week about this dreaded day. My wife is so sane that she puts no pressure on her man, and so easy to adore and so pleasant to please that she doesn't have to worry about feeling the love and seeing the glow of it, this day or any other.