In Japan Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a very unique style. It is the women who present gifts to men.
There is a strong tradition of women giving chocolates to men on Valentines Day. There are two types of chocolates, “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate), and “Honmei-choco”. Giri-choco is meant to be for friends, colleagues, bosses, and close male friends. “Giri” means obligation hence this Giri-choco has no romance involved. On the other hand, Honmei-choco is given to a boyfriend, lover, or husband with true love. Japanese women often prepare the Honmei-choco by themselves as many of them think it is not true love if they just buy the ready made chocolate at shops. You will start seeing large displays of chocolate, often heart-shaped in department stores and grocery stores from mid-January. Days before the Valentine’s Day, stores get packed with a large variety of chocolates, the cooking tools, and women!
What is more unique in Japan is that there exists a “White Day” which takes place on March 14th, exactly one month after Valentine’s Day. On White Day men are supposed to give return gifts to women who gifted them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. More often the color of the chocolate is white because of the name of the day. Flowers, candies and other gifts are also popular along with the chocolates. Again, department stores have many advanced reminders with gift displays so men will have no excuse to forget about this special day which is important for women.