March 14, 2007
A month ago, if you asked me what I thought of the Japanese system regarding Valentine’s Day I would have given two enthusiastic thumbs DOWN. The first two weeks of February are madness. Pretty little Japanese girls swarm the streets and consequently, the department stores, in search of the perfect overpriced box of chocolates for their boo and other less overpriced boxes for their coworkers. On February 14, the girls get nothing, and the guys sit back and enjoy the benefits of all the gift-giving.
I refused to participate in such shenanigans – until the two other women in my department approached me suggesting that we pool our piggy banks to purchase a little something for each of the male coworkers in our department. To be uncooperative was not an option. So, on February 13, we got 7 boxes for 600 yen. That broke it down to about a little over $10 for each of us. Not bad. And so February 14 was taken care of.
The “tradition” here in Japan goes, a month later there is White Day when the guys “return” the Valentine. In the workplace this means, the guys return chocolates to the women who gave them gifts a month prior. So this is where I say “meh, the Japanese aren’t THAT fucked up about Valentine’s Day.” Whereas the women in our office gave gifts collaboratively, the men individually give gifts to the women. So, little crispy bags of dainty chocolates from France and cake boxes galore! Pictured is what is left of my horde fest from yesterday. (Pierre Marcolini Chocolates, Satie Nama (Raw) Chocolates and L’Occitane en Provence soap)
-yoko in tokyo