Valentine’s Day in Japan [59/365]

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day worldwide (14 February).

バレンタインデー, ヴァレンタインデー
“barentaindeー”, “varentaindeー”
Valentine’s Day

I remember when I lived in Japan I got a lot of Valentine’s Day chocolate – not because I had eleventy trillion girlfriends, but because the custom is somewhat different over there. The following might make it a bit clearer:

本命チョコ
(ほんめいチョコ)
“honmeichoko”
chocolate given to a boy on Valentine’s Day out of genuine sentiment

友チョコ
(ともチョコ)
“tomochoko”
chocolate given to a friend (on Valentine’s Day)

(Note: 友達 = “tomodachi” = friend)

義理チョコ
(ぎりチョコ)
“girichoko”
obligatory gift chocolate; chocolate given by women to male acquaintances on Valentine’s Day

Indeed, it is a Valentine’s Day custom in Japan for women to give chocolate to the men in their lives whether romantically, professionally, or merely platonically. I even got quite a lot from my younger students – they loved making sweets/chocolate to give to boys on Valentine’s Day.

Typically this present-giving is only from females to males, so what do the women get out of it?

Well…one month later there is “White Day” where the men must reciprocate 😉

I will talk about White Day in exactly one month!


Image credit: Royce.com

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