Do you have any plans for Valentine's Day? Is there a special way of spending this time in your culture? In Japan, it is only the women who give presents (mainly chocolates) to men. Japanese women are usually too shy to express their love. (Though it might not be true nowadays.) Therefore, Valentine's Day was thought to be a great opportunity to let women express their feelings. However, this is a custom that smart chocolate companies spread to boost their sales, and it has been very successful. Now the chocolate companies in Japan sell more than half of their annual sales during the week before Valentine's Day. Men are supposed to return gifts to women on a day called White Day(March 14th), a Japanese creation. Does it sound good to you? Don't get too excited when you get chocolates from Japanese girls! They might be "Giri-choko (obligation chocolate)." Women give chocolates not only to their loved ones ("A true love" chocolate is called "Honmei-choko.") "Giri-choko" is the chocolate given to men such as bosses, colleagues or male friends that women have no romantic interest in, just for friendship or gratitude. The concept of "girl is very Japanese. It is a mutual obligation that the Japanese follow when dealing with other people. If someone does you a favor, then you feel obligated to do something for that person.
We hope you have the wonderful time in Valentine's Day!