My mom recently asked me, “Does Japan have Valentine’s Day?”
Yes, Mom, it definitely does! Japan has embraced this western holiday, although tweaked it to make it their own.
On Valentine’s Day, women give out chocolate (usually)–to their significant other, to people who are important to them, to friends. When I first came to Japan, they would only give it to the men in their lives (their boyfriend, their dad, their male boss, their male friends, etc.) But now the custom has relaxed, and females sometimes give to females.
In March, there is White Day–a day when males give chocolate to the same women who gave THEM chocolate on Valentine’s Day. (My husband and I don’t do this, though. We exchange gifts on February fourteenth, like America.)
Valentine’s Day treats at SPAL (the shopping center connected to the train station.) I got permission for all photos.
Valentine’s cookies at SPAL.
The photo above (and all remaining photos) are at Nakago, the department store across the street from the train station.
Notice how masculine the packaging is.It’s specifically for Valentine’s Day. (You can’t buy these chocolates in Fukushima City except in the Valentine season.) The masculine packaging is because chocolate makers know that typically women give the chocolate to men. So this would be for a manly man sort of man.
More manly man chocolates.
More chocolates. Not all of the chocolates have manly man packaging. There are MANY different styles. This is only Fukushima City, but in a place like Tokyo…whew! LOTS AND LOTS OF CHOCOLATE STYLES!!!!!
Not only are the chocolates manly man, but the man who created them is manly man. (Nicolas Bernarde created them.)
Again a manly man–Francois Gimenez–created them.
These chocolates are Godiva.
These chocolates are not for your boyfriend or husband. These would be for your child or for your fun best friend.
Obviously not manly man chocolates. Fun and funky chocos.
For the zoologist in your life.
For the crocodile wrangler in your life.
The signs says, “Sold out.” If a person waits until the afternoon of February thirteenth, a LOT of chocolates will be sold out. (I took all these photos on the morning of February twelfth.)
I’ve heard that Valentine’s Day is when the most chocolates are sold in Japan. Other things are sold as Valentine’s Day (mostly liquor, for the men who prefer that over chocolate) but usually it’s chocolates that are given on Valentine’s Day.