Today in Japan is ‘White Day’ which is not a celebration of myself (my family name is White!) but is in fact a pure marketing day. Unlike Valentines Day in the west where both sexes give and receive, in Japan only the women give to the men but not because they fancy them or anything. Instead there is a something called ‘giri choco‘ meaning obligation chocolates which they give all the men in their office. No cards, flowers, underwear, romantic trips or gifts and not even the slightest whiff of any meaning!! Obviously there’s not too much meaning anywhere these days in terms of St Valentine and all that. It’s all a far cry from a few years ago when I couldn’t even open my door on Valentines Day…………………..because I’d forgot my key!!
Anyway, back to White Day. This day is for the men to return the favour and give chocolates to the ladies in their life including the obligation ones. An idea thought up by the chocolate manufacturers somewhere back in history!
I received five chocolate boxes last month on Valentines Day from students (mostly kids) and despite them being ‘giri‘ it made me happy but I wasn’t so happy recently when I remembered that it was appropriate to buy them something back. I didn’t think this would be too exciting but I was overjoyed to see how excited some of them got over such a meaningless and inexpensive gift purchased from the nearest convenience store only an hour or two earlier!!
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