Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hugs and kisses to those who sent me Valentine's packages and cards!
Well, kisses to Paul and hugs to Nia, Anney, and Chrissi, that is...

It's great to feel loved from across the world.

And more locally, from one of my 3rd year students- a great handmade card, even though my name was misspelled "Rolly" (she fixed some of the mistakes after I pointed it out). I think it's funny that the "Roses are red" poem was also lost on her!

So Valentine's Day in Japan is another one of those western "holidays" that is over- commercialized with that Japanese twist... Apparently chocolate ("choco") companies used this as a marketing tool to promote chocolate and gift giving- but from women to give to men!

Boyfriends and husbands get "honmei ("favorite" / "fated" / "prospective winner")- choco" but many women consider store-bought chocolates too impersonal, so they painstakingly handmake them at home for their lovers. After all the Christmas and New Years decorations come down, the packaged chocolates, chocolate making kits, molds, and wrapping paper hit the shelves at every store.

The part that kills me though, is that (male) co-workers and bosses are supposed to get "giri (obligation) -choco". "Giri" is a very Japanese concept- as in, it's a mutual obligation when dealing with other people- a debt of gratitude and a self-sacrificing pursuit of their happiness, and both people are probably apologizing ("sumimasen-ing") the whole time.

Now, those folks at the chocolate companies also came up with the reciprocal "White Day", on March 14, where men are expected to "return the favor" and give white chocolate and marshmallows to those who gave them Valentine's gifts. However, most men only give (store bought) chocolates and lingerie to their girlfriends. Oh, the irony of it all.

Good god, I just read about "Black Day" in Korea.... It's on April 14, and those who didn't receive anything on Valentine's or have anyone to give anything to, get together and eat noodles in black sauce. Talk about bitter!!

1 comment:

Paul said...

Oh Rolly! hahaha! They mean well. As for bizzare Japanese customs... This doesn't surprise me. That having been said... you can make me homemade choco anytime, no obligation of course.