If you are in Japan, you’d see plenty of chocolate at stores in February. It’s funny because we can see many events in stores. It’s very natural for me that seeing seasons passing from products’ line up on shelfs and it’s just mixed up. For example shops start off clearing all Christmas items after they closed then set up items for new year. Stores look very different before and after.   Valentine’s day is also same, I thought that I saw SETSUBUN goods and EHOMAKI on 3rd February at a store then it was all changed to chocolate for valentine’s day when I visited the store on next day. 

What does come up on your mind when you hear Valentine’s day? You’d say it’s the day men give gifts to women. How about if I ask Japanese same question, they’d say that the day women give chocolate to her boyfriend. And range to give chocolate is getting wider nowadays such as to female and male friends, family, colleague, themselves… seems girls enjoy this big event with talking whether buy or not, giving to who etc. One of big unique point is that chocolate is handed women to men. You might imagine a situation like below If you like anime. I also used to prepare chocolate for this special day, to my father, friends and of course myself. (but no boyfriend, unfortunately..) I was so surprised when I knew gifts go to men to women generally.  



As I say above, Japanese valentine’s culture is very unique and it is said that there are some stories but it began by Japanese confectionery brands around 1930. They put ad to give a chocolate to special as a strategy cause sale gets down February. They struggled to settle it down and finally it became popular around 1970. Now valentine’s day takes 20% of chocolate consumption a year and obviously it’s the biggest day for confectionery companies. 


Women needed to give chocolate even people who didn’t want to in work, called GIRI- CHOCO(義理チョコ). 義理 means things make relationship smooth in this case. So they gave little chocolates to all colleague and boss to show appreciation or to take communications. My father used to bring many chocolates from his office then I loved to eat them. But these days this goes almost extinct because of harassment issue.  It would change better with time and I hope everyone gets happy.   

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