With retail outlets pushing seasonal holiday merchandise earlier and earlier every year, it’s perhaps not too surprising that there are already signs of next year’s goodies.
Japan has a lot of unique customs, and not all of them make sense to newcomers. Eating fried chicken on Christmas Eve, anyone? How about the weird ritual of girls giving chocolate to guys on Valentine’s Day (do guys really like chocolate more than we girls do?).
But it turns out that there are plenty of customs that even Japanese people think are a waste of time. Here’s the top seven worst offenders, and why they are so annoying…
If you love sweets — chocolate in particular — Japan in the weeks before Valentine’s Day is definitely a great place to be. Ever since chocolate makers in Japan managed to make it a widespread tradition for women to give chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day, it’s become an annual event to see chocolates being sold at shops everywhere starting in late January, with numerous special promotions and appearances by “celebrity chocolatiers” to heighten the excitement leading up to the big V-day.
Yes, for chocolate lovers, it’s a blissful time of year — there’s nothing quite like stepping into a department store and seeing a huge space filled with chocolates of all shapes and sizes while being surrounded by the rich, earthy scent of cacao. But now that Valentine’s Day is over, we may be developing a case of the post-Valentine’s blues, so to console ourselves, we’ve put together a collection of photos showcasing some of the most memorable chocolate items we saw this Valentine’s season in Japan.
Japan likes to celebrate Valentine’s Day by women taking the first step and giving a gift of chocolate to the men in their life (whether they see them in a romantic or platonic light), and for the guys to reciprocate a month later on March 14, or White Day, as it’s known here. Over the last couple of years, though, some florists have been putting up signs dropping hints that in the west, it’s customary for men to take the initiative in giving presents on Valentine’s Day.
The idea still doesn’t seem to have really caught on, though, and when I stopped by the flower shop to pick up some roses for my wife this year, I didn’t see a crowd of other men doing the same. But it looks like guys may be slowly warming up to the idea of doing something sweet in February, as this year a number of high school girls got a pleasant, and present, surprise by receiving chocolate from their male classmates in something they’re calling “Reverse Valentine’s Day.”
In a country where girls traditionally give chocolate to boys on Valentine’s Day and the boys returning the favor exactly one month later on White Day, February 14 in Japan has got to be a pretty lonely day for the young men who attend all-boys schools.
But it turns out that those boys may not suffer through such a bleak holiday after all. Take a look at these pictures and see how some students at Japanese boys’ schools celebrated Valentine’s Day this year, minus the girls!
Recently in parts of China a movement has been growing online where groups have been pooling funds to buy up all of the odd-numbered seats in movie theaters to prevent couples from going during peak hours of Valentine’s Day.
While this might seem like simply a spiteful act by single people during a day devoted to couples, the Chinese media and others are beginning to see it as much more. These motivated individuals may be tearing down preconceptions of the holiday and creating something more even love-inspiring than it ever had been.
When we first saw this tweet from Twitter user kotekote_mk, we got all excited imagining the possibilities of re-using boring old chocolate boxes as handy storage boxes for our game cartridges and consoles. Just look at how neatly those cards fit into the little spaces for the chocolates! It really speaks to our love of organisation. And video games. And, okay, chocolate. And we’re not the only ones – the response to the tweet practically broke poor kotekote_mk’s Twitter page…
Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, which makes it a perfect opportunity for an elegant dinner out with your special someone. Of course, if you’re single, you may want to bypass a meal in a restaurant surrounded by couples making kissy faces at each other and just call Domino’s for a pizza instead.
But even if you’re not headed out, Domino’s understands that maybe you’re in the mood for both pizza and love. That’s why this Valentine’s Day the popular pizza providers are offering a deal that includes a cute heart-shaped pizza, and, if you’d like, a romantic kabe-don wall pound as part of the delivery service.
Leading up to Valentine’s Day in Japan, there’s one thing that’s impossible to escape – and it’s not swarthy, rose-touting Lotharios. It’s chocolate. In pretty packaging and delicious displays, store counters come alive with the sweet stuff at this time of year, and one of the more luxurious and decadent types is the rich, creamy nama choco (fresh chocolates).
The only problem with this type of chocolate is the fact that it blends an already creamy chocolate with even more cream and butter, making it heavy on the calories. Net users in Japan, though, have discovered an unusual way to cut out the extra fat – by replacing it with tofu! Using just three ingredients, we’ll let you in on the latest diet tip from Japan and show you how to make delicious, creamy nama choco with only half the calories.
The other day we came out with a list of some Valentine’s Day chocolates that are almost too beautiful to eat. If only we’d had a list of “chocolates so life-like you might not even realize that they are chocolates,” these “Crayons Colorés” would surely have gotten the top spot.
As a Valentine’s Day special, the Palace Hotel Tokyo’s pastry shop, “Sweets & Deli,” has come out with beautifully designed colored pencils, I mean, colored pencil-shaped chocolates.
Valentine’s Day is approaching with the speed of a runaway freight train, which for all those out there who are currently unattached can be a cause of sweaty palms and lips curled up in sneers of derision. In the west, Valentine’s Day is a totally commercialised flurry of unoriginal gifts and saccharine sappiness, but in Japan it’s kinda different. The chocolate companies have managed to turn it into a sort of one-day nation-wide chocolate-making fest, wherein lovestruck women take up their wooden spoons and mixing bowls in hopes of creating sweet treats to win the hearts of their beloved (or, alternatively, earn points with male colleagues).
But for those who are sick of Valentine’s Day and its traditional hearts and flowers, this collection of disgusting chocs is sure to raise a few evil chuckles.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and while in many other countries that may send men scurrying out to buy roses or jewelry for their lady-love, in Japan the holiday is all about women giving their romantic partner chocolates.
But what if your sweetheart doesn’t have a sweet tooth? Well, as long as he’s got a taste for dairy and seafood, why not go with the mature alternative of fish cakes stuffed with cream cheese? And don’t worry about that combination being less romantic than sugary chocolate, because they’re still shaped like little hearts.
At a glance, these lipsticks look like any other you can find at your local drugstore. However, this Valentine’s Day, you can buy a whole set of them for your loved one and watch them chomp down on these deliciously colorful lipstick-shaped chocolates!
Chilly January is drawing to a close and that means that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Here in Japan, Valentine chocolates are big business, which means shops pull out all the stops to create delicacies as easy on the eyes as they are sweet in your mouth. We’ve picked our favorites for this year, so whether you are buying for your lover or yourself, check out these dainty nibbles!
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and shops around Japan are already getting out their red and pink goods. Not white though, those are saved for a whole other day. Candy and flowers are usually the items of choice for this romantic day, but if your Valentine has less of a sweet tooth and finds flowers uneventful, we have the perfect substitution for you: LOVE Kitsune udon!
Krispy Kreme Japan is shooting Cupid’s arrows again this year. Apparently the 2014 limited edition Valentine’s Day donuts were a hit because they are not only coming back, they’ll be better than ever. The donut powerhouse has created four new delectable, chocolatey selections and as V-Day tends to be a girl-confessing-her-love-to-boy-by-giving-chocolates kind of holiday in Japan, there are inevitably going to be a lot of guys with happy tummies this coming February 14. Luckily for all the singles and ladies out there, we don’t have to wait for our suitors to give us delicious chocolate donuts, we can start enjoying them starting January 7, 2015.
Just as people in Japan have finally recovered from the horror that is Valentine’s Day, with chocolate given purely out of obligation and sweets with an added “personal” ingredient, here comes White Day to stress everyone out again. And as the custom goes, all men who received chocolate from a lady in February must give even more chocolate or other gifts come March 14th.
Luckily, Krispy Kreme Japan seems to be a fountain of White Day gift ideas, starting off with their handy guide to turning a doughnut into a beautiful piece of edible jewelry. The company has also unveiled a limited edition “White Day Box” that comes with two doughnuts. Krispy Kreme has even chosen the most popular flavors amongst women, so even if you don’t know the intended recipient, your gift will most likely be a hit…and come on, who doesn’t like sweet circles of fried dough?
Valentine’s Day in Japan is an all-chocolate affair, as millions of women around the nation stock up on the sweet treats for their friends, partners and colleagues. Lately, women have even been extending the offering to the inanimate world, with handsome anime characters receiving large amounts of gifts from their fans.
Now it seems someone in Japan may have developed a soft spot for a train on the Tokyo Chuo Line as chocolate was found to be the cause for a door jam that delayed commuters during morning rush hour on the most romantic day of the year.
On this day last year, we announced that 14 February was from then to be known as Fundoshi Day. With that grand statement made we waited a whole year for all you readers to go out and by some fundoshi, old-fashioned loincloths to help us again put the “fun” in Fundoshi Day (fun-do-shi = 2-10-4 in Japanese) this year.
And let me guess, you aren’t wearing your fundoshi, are you? Sigh… Alright, we’re patient people, so let us explain again why the fundoshi is the superior choice in underwear.