Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s day. In Japan this means men are lovingly showered with gourmet chocolates and gifts, and women get absolutely nothing at all. Yes, the roles are entirely reversed, like in some weird parallel universe! At home I’d be lucky to get anything more than a card on February the 14th, but that’s not the case here. When I was working for a conversational English school, Japanese housewives and schoolgirls would indulge me with boxes of expensive chocolates and home-made cakes. While this is brilliant news for me, it’s an utterly crap day for Japanese women.

The concept has been freakishly warped en route to Japan. March the 14th is “White Day,” which is when men, in turn, are expected to buy presents for the women who gave them chocolates. By then, of course, there’s no risk involved! A guy can give a gift to a girl, safe in the knowledge that she is keen. There’s no embarrassment, rejection or hurt pride (unless, of course, you’re a Japanese girl.)
So, in a curious twist on traditional romantic roles, the men take on the timid, submissive role, while all the boldness, risk-taking and chivalry is done by the ladies. Gotta love this country!
And they wonder why so many Japanese girls run off with foreign men.

What am I doing tonight? Well, my boss has decided to have a leaving party for a co-worker, and I have to go. On Valentines day of all days! Clearly he has all the romantic instincts of a nine year old misogynist. If I had called my ex-girlfriend in England on Valentine’s Day and said “Sorry, let’s cancel dinner tonight, I’m going out drinking with the boss!” I would have arrived home to find my clothes and belongings strewn all over the front lawn, shortly before having my balls ripped off with a pair of pliers. Evidently, Japanese wives are endlessly patient. And at least, if hubby spends the most romantic day of the year out boozing with his pals, it means the wife doesn’t have to spend all day slaving in a hot kitchen, baking chocolate cakes.
Ah, Tokyo, city of romance.

13 Responses to Valentine’s Day

  1. simaldeff says:

    Seems there is always someone that got a crappy tradition on VDays. As a man I wouldn’t resist baking some awesome chocolate cake for a girl! It’s more for my love of cooking really.
    Even if I’m a modern men, I can’t really imagine me leaving the girl being … chivalrous? I’d go and offer her on VDays … that would have the “surprise” bonus too, right?
    I heard about giri choco too … sounds idiotic.
    I can’t beleive that there is no hot japanese girls reading the blog of such a nice fella’ that couldn’t give us her point of view! Please girls say something.

  2. roaf says:

    Yeah, it would be nice to hear Japanese girls’ opinions about this!
    I’m quite old-fashioned and my girlfriend likes the Western style Valentines day, so I give her presents and take her out to dinner, rather than leaving the chivalry to her!

  3. nick says:

    yeh i much better like this way, making a cake or making dinner for her on valentines day, also bc i like cooking. Not being taken at the moment, i just worked from 12:30 midday to 12:45 for valentines day. The fun! I was talking to a girl about it, and she mentioned that she really like that some western guys do the ‘ladies first thing’ cos japanese guys dont really do that, and that japanese girls like a guy who cooks. There is an indirect input from a girl, not wholely to do with valentines day tho

  4. Chris B says:

    I got a chocolate tool kit. I got a pic of it in my latest post.
    Too bad I don’t eat chocolate 😦

  5. Hey, for some of these bints, most days are all about them.

    I say Valentines Day in Japan is the way it ought to be. I get the chocolate, pretend to be impressed, and conveniently ignore White Day, claiming gaijin ignorance. Play that card when you can, baby!

  6. roaf says:

    Too late, I already did it western style, and I suspect I’m going to have to buy stuff for white day, too.

  7. simaldeff says:

    You are going to earn double the points (if not more) that a normal japanese V-day would have earned. Good for you … you know what you can exchange those points with, right?

  8. nick says:

    i love the way how it can remain unspoken, but everyone knows

  9. simaldeff says:

    it’s the universal language of … let’s say love.

  10. headbang8 says:

    Yes, Japan IS a weird parallel universe!

    Another one I like–March 3 is the Children’s Day holiday. But it’s really boy’s day, traditionally. May 5 is girl’s day. And what’s on April 4? Gay Day, what else?

  11. Very good writing. I am glad your posting that. I hope you can accept my apology for my less good English Skills, I am from France and English is sort of new to me. I will bookmark your blog and keep reading.

  12. […] Valentine’s Nonsense Valentine’s Day, like everything else, has been warped by Japan’s cultural filters like a reflection in a funhouse mirror. Here’s what I had to say about it a couple of years ago. […]

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