Happy Valentine’s Day

We asked Taro how the Japanese celebrate Valentine’s Day. He said the women give chocolates to men because traditional Japanese women are very reserved and do not openly express affection. So Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to express their feelings. There are two types of gifts of chocolate, Taro went on to explain. One is the “Giri-choko” (obligation chocolate) versus the “Honmei-choko” (true love). Giri-choku is the chocolate given to men such as employers, coworkers or male friends that Japanese women have no romantic interest in, just friendship or appreciation. The concept of “giri” 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. So, how is a Japanese man to know the difference? Our guess is that a woman’s true intentions remain mysterious no matter whether she is from the East or the West.

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