Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day in Japan

Valentine's Day is fully present in Japan, but the gifting process is a bit different that Westerners are used to. Relax men, you don't need to buy anything! That's right all the chocolate gets given to you! 

There is a long standing tradition in Japan that girls gift chocolate to boys. There are two different kinds of chocolate gifts. Non-romantic chocolate given to friends, co-workers, and other acquaintances. Then there is romantic chocolate given to a boyfriend from a girlfriend. Many girls and women make the chocolate or sweets themselves, as it is considered a more true attestation of love than buying chocolate in a store. 

But there still is much store bought chocolate to be found. A few weeks before Valentine's Day I saw pink and red heart shaped boxes popping up in many grocery stores. 

My school was festive on Valentine's Day. I could see many treats being given, mostly from girls to their girlfriends as tokens of friendship. In my two classes of the day, I presented all the students with a small piece of chocolate (store bought) and they were excited to receive it. A few other girls presented me with small handmade baked treats that were individually wrapped or bagged. 

On the chalkboard pictured above, the girls of this class came in one hour before school began to compose this masterpiece. During the break time in that same class the girls told the boys to look under their chair, where they had taped a bar of chocolate for each of them. 

Think the boys need to step it up? They will have their day, one month from now on "White Day", March 14th, a Japanese holiday where boys give chocolate to the girls that gifted it to them on Valentine's Day. The color of these treats is often white in coordination with the name of the day. 

While each of this holiday's are cash goldmines to confectionery companies it's still very cute to see my students expressing their love and admiration to each other as well as their teachers.