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Tutor Yoshie O 's Column

Valentine’s Day in Japan?

Feb 11, 2019

Hello! How is everyone doing?
So, speaking of February, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Do you celebrate this day in your country? If so, how do you celebrate it?
Valentine’s Day in Japan might have different traditions compared to the one in western culture for example. Let’s talk about this today!
Valentine's Day is the day women send their love to their loved ones.
In western culture, generally, it is more like men gifting something to women, right? In Japan, in most cases, it is the opposite. Men receive chocolate or sweets from women!
The women bake a cake or make some chocolate sweets and gift it to their loved ones.
I guess it depends on the person, but many people prepare a homemade cake or sweets to gift it to someone they love. Otherwise, it is also possible to buy a really nice and fancy chocolate box in the supermarkets where there is a temporary space for many different kinds and brands of chocolate and sweets shops.
There are different kinds of meanings in gifting chocolate.
‘本命 honmei‘ here means someone one and only. You give your Honmei a gift of chocolate, but in Japan, people also tend to give others, too: friends, colleagues/bosses and family members.
Quick Mini Vocabulary
本命|honmei|a person who is one and only to you
義理チョコ|gili-choko|chocolate (or other sweets) that is gifted to someone not particularly special but to show your gratitude for.
友チョコ|tomo-choko|chocolate (or other sweets) that is gifted to your friends

There is a day called White Day on 14th March. This day is for the men to women, especially for those who have received the gift from someone on Valentine's Day and so they can give them back some sweets. This is a Japanese style!
For tomo-choco, it is normally done as a ‘sweets exchange’ amongst friends so White Day might not be so relevant for them. But for those of women who have gifted something to men, no matter who they are – boyfriend, husband, colleagues, boss… they are likely to expect to receive something on White Day!
..... my father used to get quite a lot of chocolate boxes at work, but never really prepared anything for White Day. So my mother and I used to tell him that he was so not nice! Those chocolates were mainly eaten by me, thanks very much. 

日本語で愛を伝える!Tell Love in Japanese! 
February-only lesson is available for booking from the link above. If you are interested, please have a look.
I hope you will have a happy Valentine’s Day.

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