15 March 2012

happy white day! (a little late)

Going to make a blanket statement here, but the Japanese seem to LOVE holidays. Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's... heck, there is a Saint Patty's Day parade here in Nagoya this weekend. If your culture has a holiday, the Japanese will adopt it and celebrate the crap out of it. I fully support this, for what it's worth.

On Valentine's Day here (and in South Korea, China, and Taiwan), it's a bit different than the States: Women buy men presents. Men are -  for that day - totally off the hook. You get chocolates or sweets for husbands and boyfriends (or both, for the busier and more scandalous out there). These are called homei-choco (本命チョコ), which means chocolate of love. Coworkers and friends also get goods, which are called giri-choco (義理チョコ) or courtesy chocolates.*

One month later, on March 14th, comes White Day (ホワイトデー), and it's payback time. Three fold. Senbai gashi (三倍返し). So whatever candy and small gifts you gave to the men in your life are supposed to come back multiplied. I got Amos a jar of peanut butter on Valentines Day... so look out.**

I was expecting to find a long history of this holiday, given how old Japanese culture is and how they appreciate the past. Jokes on me: the holiday began in 1978 as part of a marketing strategy by confectionary company. It's nice to know Hallmark holidays are concept that extends beyond the US's borders.

* Gosh, I love the blunt and accurate descriptor of 'courtesy chocolates.'
** Wish I knew about the three fold thing a bit sooner. Would have changed my present selection, ifyouknowwhatImean.

1 comment:

  1. I love learning about all the rituals!! Keep em coming girl!


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