Valentine's Day in Japan - Waku Waku

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Valentine's Day in Japan

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Valentine's Day in Japan

What is Valentine like in Japan? Let me share with you how I experienced the holiday this year.

Pan Pan

Pan Pan

Published on 12 Mar, 12:00

Usual, everyone would imagine that men would send gifts to women on this holiday. However, Valentine's Day 14/2 in Japan is the opposite. So how will men reciprocate the women's feelings?

We then have White Day 14/3, when men send gifts to women, and then 14/04 for the singles.

Why does Japan have such an opposite culture?

Some people said that to raise sales and compete with traditional sweets, chocolate companies thought of this idea to get women (the "easy-to-bribe" targets) into buying more chocolates as a proactive yet secretive way to confess to men. I am not sure if this is correct, but this is an interesting culture in Japan.

Belgium-style Chocolate Truffle box that I gifted to my housemate this Valentine
Belgium-style Chocolate Truffle box that I gifted to my housemate this Valentine

Near Valentine's Day on 14/2, you will see many supermarkets, 100-yen stores, or sweet stores with so many female customers of various ages. This day is not only for those who secretly crushes on each other but also a day for appreciating people who have helped you so far: colleagues, classmates, fathers, brothers, etc.

With so many recipients, there are different types of chocolates

I made the Fami choco (short for Family chocolate) to give to my housemate this year on Valentine's Day. I will share with you some other types of chocolate below:

  • Honmei choco: This is a type of chocolate for confessing one's feelings, and the chocolate is usually handmade with much love and care. In some Japanese manga, honmei choco may be depicted with a bit of horror element and is made with ingredients from the main heroine such as hair or blood, wishing for connection with the other person.
  • Giri choco: This is a type of obligatory chocolate to send to your bosses, colleagues, or male classmates. When gifting Giri choco, you will usually need to consider the number of gifts and your budget to avoid buying too little, too many, or over-priced. It is also why Japanese women sometimes find Giri choco a bit troublesome.
Chocolate that Japanese females at the store-bought for male staff. I didn't know about this culture, so I just enjoyed the food and didn't buy any chocolate.
Chocolate that Japanese females at the store-bought for male staff. I didn't know about this culture, so I just enjoyed the food and didn't buy any chocolate.

  • Tomo choco: Chocolate for your friends regardless of gender. This type is more popular than Giri choco since it is not as obligatory, so everyone can enjoy gifting and eating this chocolate together.
  • Fami choco: Fami choco is for giving your family members such as fathers, brothers, or relatives regardless of gender. Usually, besides chocolates, family members can even buy cakes to enjoy the sweet Valentine's Day together.
  • My choco: This is the type of chocolate you buy and eat by yourself. This type of "self-care" also has another beautiful name of Hime choco, which means princess chocolate.
  • Gyaku choco: When you go the opposite way of Japan, and on the same track as the world, as in men gifting chocolate to women, it means that you are giving "Gyaku (opposite) chocolate".

The ingredients and recipes for making chocolates for Valentine

If you are not skillful or just don't want to complicate things, then the best way to make chocolates is by melting the store-bought chocolates and pouring them into molds, then decorating with sugar, dry flowers, dry nuts, etc.

If you want to make it unique, you could try making nama choco, chocolate truffle by mixing the melted chocolate with unsalted butter and fresh cream. There are many different recipes on the internet in Vietnamese, English, and Japanese for your reference.

Moreover, when you buy chocolates on this day, many stores also added in some easy recipes for you to try your hand at making chocolates.

Nama chocolate I made for my housemate and myself last year in 2021
Nama chocolate I made for my housemate and myself last year in 2021

This is the link to the simple Nama chocolate recipe from the Lotte brand that I successfully used to make chocolates last year.

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