Survival Japanese: Valentine's Day

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As you know, Japanese people celebrate St. Valentines Say slightly different then we do in the west.


★★On valentines day, women give chocolate to men. There are two types of giving here: giri choco (obligatory chocolate) and honmei choco (chocolate given to the man the woman is serious about). The "giri" chocolate presents are usually distribute about the office to coworkers. Honmei choco is usually hand made chocolate carefully wrapped. ★★

★★Then, there is WHITE DAY (March 14th). White Day is believed to have begun during the 1960s (see history below) so that the men who received chocolate on Valentines Day must return the favor by giving the women who gave them gifts of chocolate, a more expensive box of chocolate or sweets. (Its real purpose-a clever marketing strategy devised to make people spend more money). Usually these gifts of obligation are wrapped in white.★★

History of Valentines Day/White day in Japan (from

It is said that St. Valentine's Day was imported to Japan in 1958 by a Japanese confectionery company.... White Day is believed to have been introduced by a marshmallow manufacturing company in the 1960s. The white marshmallows gave the day its name but other kinds of presents such as candy, flowers, etc. have become more popular over the years.

Valentines Day Vocabulary:

義理チョコ   giri choco   (obligatory chocolate)
本命チョコ   honmei choco  (the real deal chocolate)

バレンタインデーのお返しです Barentain de no okaeshi desu. (Here is (your present) in return for the one you gave me on Valentines Day

Okaeshi literally means to return, or in return. For example 本を返しです 'hon o kaeshi desu' (Here is your book back)

Happy Valentines Day!

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