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Girls just want to have… chocolate – The ambiguity of White Day in Japan

Both St. Valentine’s Day and White Day are usually full of surprises and not all of them are pleasant. I mean, what should you do after you receive a box of chocolates from your student for Valentine’s Day? It is probably easier if you are a guy and the student is a girl, at least you know you MUST reciprocate one month later. But I am female, and so is my student. I understand that her present was more of a Tomo Choco (chocolate for friends), but… there is a possibility that it was a Giri Choco (obligatory chocolate). Which of course does not change the situation dramatically.White DayAnyway, I have a lot of questions. Should I buy a box of chocolates of the same price (approximately), or should it be three times more expensive? Does it have to be white? And does is have to be chocolate or can I give some cookies?White DayActually, as we didn’t have a lesson on March 14, it must have already be late to give it? Should I have given in to my student before the White day? I was looking for the White Day etiquette in English, but unfortunately they do not focus on female-to-female gifts. My Japanese husband does not know what to do in that case either. I am worried that this White Day my student felt disappointed. Or maybe I’m taking it too seriously?White DayJapanese culture of giving and receiving gifts is usually too difficult and sometimes even depressing. Starting with packing and ending with the choice of the present, it is walking on eggshells. Receiving a gift may be nice in my culture, but in Japan it often creates unwanted social obligations and thus can reduce or eliminate the fun. My husband knows it only too well, and prohibited his family to give me presents from the beginning of our marriage. Fast forward three years, and I still get something from my mother-in-law behind his back.

Article by Olga Kaneda

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