Feb 14, 2015

An Interruption to the Interruption

This is a special post for a special friend who asked me to post about Valentine's Day in Japan.

On February 14th in Japan, females give chocolate to males, starting in grade school. Then on March 14th the male is supposed to give the female chocolate or flowers. It is more complicated for people who are dating age but I am not sure of the details so I will just keep silent, preventing my foot from entering my mouth. One interesting aspect of this practice is girichoko, giri means duty or responsibility and choko is chocolate. Girichoko is the chocolate that women give to the men around them at work, particularly supervisors, and it is usually small, just a couple of pieces and mainly symbolic. When I was teaching in a two year, post high school women's program, school was still in session and I received girichoko from most of my students. After I moved to a university, the school was in a vacation period so I no longer received girichoko from my students. Today's newspaper had an article saying that people were now using the word gimuchoko, gimu meaning office. This is a replacement for girichoko and consists of a small handful of chocolate taken from an open bag of cheap chocolates.

 This is the display of Valentine's Day chocolates at our local supermarket. This display has more expensive chocolates that you can have gift wrapped. Behind me is a display of the regular chocolates bars, etc, that they sell all year around but have been moved from the usual location to this special display.
 My friend asked about Valentine's Day cards. I have never received one and do not know of anyone else ever receiving one, so I went to our local stationary story, the only place to buy cards. While crossing the store to the card display, I discovered this small section that had a few small packages of chocolate plus things for making or wrapping chocolates. Everything they had was on these two sections of shelving.
At the card section I looked carefully but there were no Valentine's Day cards, only birthday and greeting cards, confirming my understanding that they are not popular.

1 comment:

Sy Kim said...

Many thanks Charles and I promise I won't ask for special favors too often.