The difference between Valentine’s Day in Japan and America.
You know, I could spend time explaining to you the history of Valentine’s Day and the reason for it, but why bother.
No ones’s going to think about the history while they are participating in it’s main activity: Capturing love or being nice to others.
When I was growing up and in elementary school Valentine’s Day was quite innocent, and a good influence for bonding classmates. We all usually bought these sets of small square cards with valentine themed pictures and messages on them, and handed them out to everyone in the class with a nice personal message. Although it was kind of strange giving a card to someone you rarely talk to that says “be mine”, nonetheless, the positive outweighed the negative by far.
This is nearly the polar opposite of what happens once everyone reaches junior high school. By this time everyone has probably hit puberty and is hoping that the one they desire gives them some type of romantically laced chocolate or message, capturing their heart.
More cases than not, your attempt at the opportunity to capture the one you love, usually ends up capturing an unforgettable heartbreak.
Anywhere from being flat out rejected, to finding your card on the ground in a school hallway, to finding out someone else’s ate your homemade chocolate.
An emotional gamble that usually pays off in the worst way.
Unless you’re super popular that is. In that case, you are validated about how awesome of an individual people think you are by everyone in school.
By high school, I think people were over Valentine’s day, and instead tried to be more opportunistic in class and at parties, leaving the romantic gambles to the formal dances.
This goes for usually for boys and sometimes girls in America.
Today in Japan, at the school I work at, I just saw a boy give a girl a very expensive looking chocolate. But it’s February 6th. He’s always been a little “different”. She was shocked, embarrassed, and I’m sure he captured emotions that were unintended.
I am aware that in Japan the girls are supposed to give the guys chocolate, and that the boys return the favor on White Day.
Side note: I like to reward myself with all the creative chocolates I can find in Tokyo that are limited edition.
I just love myself that much.
Back to the topic: So like the many other things that are reversed in Japan, Valentine’s Day is not exception. Not only do girls give guys the chocolates, but you have to give it to those you have a professional relationship with, and those you are somehow indebted to. Giri Choco. And it can’t be cheap.
Sounds like a win for the chocolate selling stores, while everyone else looses.
Would you mind if we got rid of this holiday? Probably not.
If you feel you are indebted to me for some reason, please e-mail us and we will tell you where to send the chocolates.
Godiva gift cards are accepted.