A Typical Japanese Valentine’s Day

Sarah Noah
Major: Japanese, Travel & Tourism
Ritsumeikan University, Japan

The other day was Valentine’s Day. As with most of the holidays that have occurred during my study abroad, I tried to celebrate how the Japanese do; that means chocolate.chocolate

Now I realize that America has a tradition of giving chocolate and candy on Valentine’s Day, but in Japan there is much more to it. First of all, on this day, only girls give the chocolate. Guys don’t have to reciprocate until a month later on White Day. Then there are three (almost four) categories of chocolate. First is tomo-chocolate, which is the chocolate given by girls to their female friends. Next is giri-chocolate. This literally means “obligation chocolate” referring to the chocolate given to co-workers, male friends, or bosses. There is even the term, cho-giri-chocolate, or “ultra-obligation chocolate”, which is given to somebody you really do not want to give anything to. The last is the most special one, the honmei-chocolate. This “favorite chocolate” is given to the person you want to express love to. Whether it is for a crush or significant other, these chocolates are usually more expensive than the other categories or are homemade with lots of love.

So in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a couple of my friends and I got together and made chocolates the night before. Finding the ingredients and tools were easy since both the dollar store and super market had chocolate making displays set up for the occasion. The chocolates were super easy to make, but I spent almost an hour decorating 16 of them. But they turned out great and I am so happy.

On Valentine’s Day, I got dressed up and went around my dorm delivering the chocolates to my friends and dorm parents. That evening, a bunch of us from the dorm got together to make nabe, a Japanese hotpot dish, for dinner and to celebrate love and friendship. All in all a successful Valentine’s Day. Now let’s see how many chocolates I get for White Day!

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