Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day

Hmmm... Today is Valentine’s Day but Tetsu hates Valentine’s Day.

In the 1970s somewhere, Japan adopted the custom of celebrating Valentines Day with chocolate. The first year it didn't make much of an impression but the next year some clever person in advertising promoted Valentine's Day as the day women can confess their secret affection to the man they love by giving him CHOCOLATE. Valentine's Day took over the country!

Then somewhere in the 1980s, the idea of "Obligation chocolate" caught on. All those men in the office that the female clerk has to contend with daily? One might as well try to make extra points by giving them a piddling amount of chocolate. They'll feel honored and with Japanese culture so entrenched with giving return gifts, the clerk girl will surely come out ahead. (She's also obligated to give the chocolate because everyone else is doing the same thing.) So obligation chocolate took hold and women all over Japan were buying $2 or $3 boxes of chocolates, 10 or 20 at a time to give to any male that they happened to come across on Valentine's Day.

And the obligation extends to March 14th which is a completely original Japanese holiday called White Day when the men who received chocolates on February 14th are OBLIGATED to return the gift by presenting cookies or handkerchiefs or some small present. A lot of men have their wives go out and buy a ton of obligations gifts for White Day.

Nowadays I hear the phrase "Friend chocolate" and this means that women and girls will give chocolates (often hand made) to each other and ignore the men completely! It is a shock to the father in the family when he gets a $2 box of chocolate from the office girl but his wife is handing out chocolates to the meter man and his daughter is wrapping chocolates for her friends. "Forget Dad! Why would I give chocolates to him?"

So Tetsu isn't happy when the ladies in the office ignore him on Valentines Day and he isn't happy if someone leaves an obligation box of chocolate on his desk either.

And from me? I suppose just to cheer him up I should make some heart shaped cookies or something. I'm sure he'd rather have pork cutlets for dinner though.

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