Hello Island Guests. At the time I am writing this and posting this , it is valentines day. The day of love. A perfect little day for such a loveable and loving little Weeb like me. Yet in the western day also a sad day. Pinkie tends to celebrate Valentine’s by herself. I love the amounts of heart in the store though when I go on a little walk about so I still love the day. More so I love the days after.. in which heart shaped chocolate gets discounted. But did you weebs like me know that Valentines is a lot different in Japan? It’s not just about that one true love! It’s about all love! And I love it!
Valentine’s day in Japan is basically nothing like we know it. Where the western world puts the focus on the guys providing something nice for their girls most and foremost in Japan it’s the girls who have to cough up the gifts. Valentines day in Japan is very much focussed on chocolate. So not a lot of heart plushies, no giving expensive gifts. You give chocolat. But not just to your lover. Valentine’s day is about giving chocolate to those who matter to you. In any sense of the word. This means your family gets chocolate, your boss gets chocolate and all your coworkers get chocolates for your classmates.. chocolates for everyone!
The funniest part about this whole thing came to be due to a translation error. I guess the Japanese misunderstood the point.. kind off.. Even though the message is lost here as well. I know that my best friend Bean is giving her boyfriend like a 500 dollar gift.. (he would have been so fudged if he lived in Japan). Now in Japan this would be a REALLY stupid idea.. well or kinda smart.. but more on that later.. you are just supposed to choc it up! And of course there are rules! It’s japan after all!
You have to give everyone chocolat that is a rule.. but you can give them gradations of chocolates. There are levels of chocolateness which will tell a person how close you are to them. So let’s take a look at all the gifting types!
Cho-Giri Choco is the cheapest to give.. the most toxic to get. Giri stands for obligation and Cho.. I think in this context stands for being far away from the gift giver. It’s the cheapest chocolat that you give to people.. not to exclude them. The thing you give to the female colleague who keeps showing your pictures of her cat, that woman who keeps hosting her Grey’s Anatomy watch along.. where no one ever shows or that blogger you kinda always just leave a like for but that you never really read because she is just to weird. Cho-Giri is basically the chocolate for the Meg Griffin’s of society.
Giri Choco is the social obligation chocolat you don’t actually mind giving.. for example to the colleagues you like and of course something extra for your boss, your mother or your teacher. Even if you don’t like your boss you do not give them the cheapest Giri.. because he will know! You give them something just a bit fancier because otherwise they will destroy you! Basically it’s a treat for anyone who is on the “wedding guest list” in the “we have to invite them” part of the list rather than the “I want them to be there” list.
Tomo Choco is a treat meant for friends and those who have a non romantic place in your heart. While it is still okay to buy them chocolate this has to be more luxurious than that of the obligated ones. There has to be some love into this gift. This means you have to write them a handwritten note, or spend a lot of time making, some cool gift wrapping and a real tomodachi would go through the effort to hand craft chocolat for their friends as well. Still Tomo Choco can still be pretty relaxed in some circles as long as it shows at least a bit of a personal touch to really showcase your affection.
Honmei Choco is the chocolate made for that special someone. Traditionally Valentines Day in Japan was used as a way for shy girls to confess their love to boys by offering them a tribute of chocolates. Of course also that special someone you deeply care for also had to become included so somehow this ended up being the highest gradation of chocolat. Looks are very important for Honmei. When bought it has to at least look expensive and fancy and it has to show very much care. Yet in the more traditional interpretation you really have to make this one yourself. You have to put your love into it while making it .. and it is believed that if a boy likes your chocolates maybe you can get together.. but we will return to that subject in a bit. Let’s start looking at what the guys have to do in return first.
I love you three times over! The white day story!
One month after Valentines Day it’s the turn for boys to treat the girls. On the 14th of March Asia celebrates White Day. It started out as an invention of the marshmallow industry in an attempt to up their sales numbers like how the chocolate industry did. On this day guys return gifts to the girls who gifted them stuff. This started out with paying them back with marshmallows but as it turned out, girls did not enjoy marshmallows as much as they did chocolates. So the whole Giri thing got replaced by flowers, cookies and chocolates.. anything would do as long as the packaging at the very least was white.
Now I am unsure if this is an invention of the marshmallow industry because that would seem rather unpractical.. but there is a rule of three for white day. At least for Honmei class gifts as far as I am aware, a boys gift has to at least cost three times as much as the gift the girl gives. See now how Bear.. the boyfriend of Bean would be in trouble if he had lived in Japan?! He would have to spend more than I get in two month’s of income on a gift for her. On White Day the girls are treated by the boys. Restaurants are overbooked and basically all that stuff we get here on V-Day. There is a lot less focus on crafting and a lot more focus on commercialism. You have to make sure you spend more than your girlfriend.
As far as I am aware White Day mostly seems about reciprocating gifts. While Japanese Valentine’s Day is about confessing feelings, White Day is much more about reciprocating feelings. You do not ask people to celebrate the day with you.. you just return a favor….. how romantic. Though I do think it might be for the best.. otherwise Yaoi couples would end up in an endless loop of gifting. Guy 1 gives boyfriend a gift.. who has to gift back something three times as expensive.. than guy 1 has to get a gift that is three times as expensive as that other gift and so on!…Maybe they did think about this more than I thought .
A Day for the unloved: Black Day
South Korea even has a THIRD Holiday in the season and this one is called Black Day. I know South Korea isn’t japan so you all probably care a whole lot less but it is kinda cute and sad at the same time. Black Day is unofficially celebrated on the 14th of April. Black day is for those who did not receive any gifts on Valentine’s Day or on White Day. It brings people together to fairly cheap restaurants or places and everyone of these single people than eat Jajangmyeon together. This is Korean Dish filled with Chinese Noodles, Vegetables and Pork.. it all gets covered in a thick black bean sauce hence the name black day. From Chocolats to beans is quite a downgrade!
There is something oddly charming to an event like Black Day. It allows singles together and support each other in their “loneliness” and maybe even acquainted with one another.. perhaps even planting some affection and love to harvest in the next season of love. From what i have seen though this is still mostly a guy thing!
Still I will make sure that in two month I have some noodles with pork and black sauce! Ever since I learned of it .. I actually have made black sauce noodles every 14th of april that i am single. (Which basically was all of them..after learning of this holiday). I haven’t always used chinese noodles or pork though! No one notices anyway. Now Black Day isn’t the only Black chapter in the book that is Japanese in 2011 some tweets began to circulate the internet… for a handful of girls in Japan.. Valentine’s is about BLACK MAGIC.
Uhm You can keep your Chocolates… Arigato Desu!
Now we all know that putting a little love in the dish makes it taste a lot better. Mothers home cooked food tastes better because she puts in her love for you when making your favorite pasta or your beloved sunday roast. We can almost taste that bit of personality she puts into it.. taste her essence… and to a select few girls in Japan Valentines day has a ……………similar connotation. For the most part putting your love into a dish is good enough for the girls, yet in 2014 a message became very trending on Twitter. While blown out of proportions I unfortunately can pretty much confirm the legitimacy of using black magic in Valentine’s Day candy. Luckily only from second hand experience. A friend of mine (At the time) had some enchanted candies. (Not the really really bad kind fortunately) The Black magic of Valentines believe that if you put something of yourself into the candy,(Homei only) it will help those who eat it fall in love with you.I do not mean this in a spiritual sense.. there are some Honmei out there in Japan each year that contain.. physical personal essence.
Now my friend was lucky and he found a hair in his chocolat. At first he thought it was an accident as if it just dropped in there by mistake. later he realised the girl was actually very superstitious and believed he would fall in love with her. Unfortunately the 2014 tweet popularised putting other parts in as well. Pieces of skin, .. the type of hair that is less likely to land in the chocolat by accident but also stuff like tears or finger nails. Alas… that was also not what the 2014 tweet was about. They talked about how to add your blood to the chocolat. Adding your blood to the chocolate made with love would make those who eat it fall for you almost certainly. Among all the types of blood one would be the most potent and that is the blood of a girl on her period… Now again I do know the reactions on the tweet were exaggerated but three people I know personally who lived in Japan have confirmed to me that it does in fact happen in rare cases. The one guy targeted himself. A gal pal who studied there a little while before the tweet.. but after it’s popularisation in 2011 asked around on her school and some told her they would consider it had they been in love. Could still be a joke but she believed it. The third told a very convincing story to.. so if your girlfriend is on the Yandere side…. ?!
While probably mostly an urban legend it’s not that weird to think that in a country where they sell second hand panties from vending machines (or used to before they got outlawed) stuff like this could be real to. Regardless Valentines is pretty different in asia than it is here in the west. There is positivity about it that all forms of love matter not just that one true love. It’s also about loving your friends family and everyone in your live as well. Even those you normally would show no love at all.. get a little token of affection. Which really charms me. I tried to make chocolate for my friends one but in the end I ended up with a ruined bowl, some minor burns.. a very filthy kitchen counter and some broken chocolat unicorn parts that looked like they had been an accident ..prior to being broken. Still for those who are alone today.. think about the Japanese meaning of the day.. somewhere out there there must be someone you love.. in some way! Be it your friend, your senpai or your family! Hey your even reading my blog today.. so maybe you love me as a blogger too.. I am sure I love you as a blogger as well so in a way this is our day as well. If I could I would make you all Tomo Candy. Just to be safe though.. only eat pre packaged candies!