Valentine’s Day in Japan

By Donnie | Articles

Ahh...Valentine's Day Chocolate

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! It’s a day for chocolate, for hugs, for kisses, and maybe even more if you’re lucky. It’s a day to show people that you care about them, a day that people let you know that you’re special, a day for lovers, a day for romance, a day that reminds me that I’m still utterly, utterly alone…”(overt, audible sobbing)Oh, Dear God…please send me someone…anyone!” Just kidding, lol 😀 !

Do you know what’s cool about being a guy on Valentine’s Day in Japan? You don’t have to buy a single flower, piece of chocolate…nothing! It’s beautiful. So Valentine’s Day in Japan is a day where women buy chocolate for the men. If you’re working in an office in Japan, it’s characteristic for women to buy giri choco (ぎりチョコレート), duty chocolates or chocolate you buy out of obligation, for their male boss and co-workers. I can’t remember is there a such thing as giri giri choco (ぎりぎりチョコレート)? I think so. This is the Japanese term for chocolate you buy at the last minute.

Valentine’s Day fell on a Monday (Sunday & Monday are my regular days off), this year but when we came in on Tuesday, there were chocolates and other delectable sweets waiting for us. It was pretty cool. What I’ve noticed, though is that Valentine’s Day doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal here in Japan. In the U.S. your girlfriend would be livid if you forgot to buy her something on Valentine’s Day. Maybe that happens on White Day in Japan, usually (from what I’ve seen anyway) people buy smaller gifts for one another. However if a Japanese woman is dating a foreigner, I don’t know if the same rules apply.

Wow, so let me get this straight. Japan is this magical place where, on Valentine’s Day, the women respond to your every beck and call? Where men just kick back while gorgeous Japanese women massage your feet and feed you grapes (wait…the same women that massage your feet wouldn’t be doing the feeding…I hope)? Umm….NO! It’s not like that at all. For those guys who thought you could get off scot-free, shame on you.

The way it works is that there’s another day called White Day which happens exactly one month later. This is the day where the men have to reciprocate. They have to buy chocolates for the women. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

What I like about Valentines Day being this way in Japan, is that it’s custom-made for the forgetful man, like me. If you’ve forgotten Valentine’s Day you can breathe a sigh of relief, because you have exactly thirty days to remember, thirty days get it right.

To my students, co-workers, and friends that bought me all of that delicious chocolate, that’s making me just a little puffy in the stomach, ありがとうございました!

Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day?

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  • meghu

    Valentine’s Day in japan is called White Day, the holiday falls is celebrated on March 14 every year. White Day is very much popular in Japan and many people participate in this holiday.

    • Donald Ash

      Hey meghu! I don’t know if it’s always been this way, but the have both in Japan. Valentine’s Day is still February 14th, but women generally buy gifts for the men. March 14, White Day, is when men buy gifts for the women 🙂

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