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Chocomania, or Surviving St. Valentine’s Day in Japan

It’s almost St. Valentine’s Day with its Engrish, and I’ve managed to do it this year (again)!St. Valentine's DayI mean, I managed not to buy dozens of boxes of chocolate to give to my sweetheart, male friends and colleagues. Some of them naively think that foreign woman living in Japan should abide by Japanese customs and traditions. Especially my Japanese husband, who is, of course, my sweetheart, and will always be. But the fact that he will not buy me anything for St. Valentine’s make me a tad angry. At least, he will let me try the chocolate I gave to him.

Japanese women have a lot of social pressure around this time every year. Just look at all those posters and merchandise everywhere. The male half of society expects us to forget about our jobs, put on a cute little apron, and start making tons of chocolate to give out to them.St. Valentine's DayAnd the best part is that most of them don’t even like chocolate! Some man will throw it away just after they count how many packs they managed to receive this year and post the photos on Facebook or Twitter. It is a nothing more than a modern Japanese kind of sports.

If you are not good at making sweets or have no free time, you can always buy a cake.St. Valentine's DayBut this is not the way we do it in the West! I don’t care whether it was a translation mistake, or a conscious decision of chocolate and sweets companies in Japan to separate Valentine’s Day into two holidays (February 14 and March 14) in order to gain more profit. It is women who get the attention and gifts, not the other way round! My husband always forgets about the latter, which is called White Day, and it makes me feel sad. I know it is stupid, but it does. Because even if both of these holidays are commercial, people still have some expectations. There are so many guys who feel depressed and go on a demonstration to Shibuya just because they didn’t receive any chocolate gifts on St. Valentine’s Day.St. Valentine's DayThis year I will give this heart-shaped Caprese salad a try!

Article by Olga Kaneda

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