Valentine’s Day

All aboard Tokyo’s Love Train!

Commuter train with special heart-motif straps and box seats starts service in time for Valentine’s Day.

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Express your love this Valentine’s season…with udon noodles topped with a humongous heart!

Your significant other not big on sweets? Then these udon noodles filled with a lot of “heart” may be the perfect treat this Valentine’s Day!

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“Poison Apple” from sacred mountain in Japan is said to grant your wishes this Valentine’s Day

Snow White and the Wicked Queen cosplay is now complete with this specially grown black “poison apple”.

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Premium green tea from Kyoto meets fine chocolate — and it’s a match made in sweets heaven!

What happens when renowned Kyoto tea makers are inspired by fine French chocolates? You get stunning and mouth-watering sweets like these!

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7-Eleven Japan’s chocolate hearts turn into pooping butts with just a quick trip to the microwave

It’s amazing how one gooey brown liquid can be so mouth-watering, and another not at all.

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Shabani the gorilla is so handsome he’ll be appearing on sweets in Japan this Valentine’s Day

From chocolates to primate “poop”, fans of Shabani the handsome gorilla have a lot to look forward to this Valentine’s Day.

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Say “I love you” with exclusive Sailor Moon gifts this Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, the only relationship you’ll want to be in is one with Sailor Moon.

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All tied up: Are these naughty bows the perfect “gift” for Valentine’s Day?【NSFW】

Carry on the Christmas spirit of gift-giving and start planning for Valentine’s Day early with this naughty outfit.

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Evangelion Valentine’s Day chocolates already teased for next year

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.

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7 Japanese customs that even Japanese people wish would just disappear

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…

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Tokyo Chocolate Round-up: 2015 Valentine’s Day! 【Photos】

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.

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Reverse Valentine’s Day comes to Japanese high schools as girls finally get presents from guys

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.”

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A manly affair: celebrating Valentine’s Day at a Japanese all-boys school

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!

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China’s Valentine’s Day sabotage may be the best thing to happen to the holiday

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.

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Forget chocolates, this Valentine’s Day all we want is a beautiful box for our game carts!

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…

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In the mood for love and pizza? Domino’s will deliver your pie with romantic kabe-don wall pound

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.

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How to make delicious tofu chocolates: all the taste with half the calories 【RocketKitchen】

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.

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Color your way into someone’s heart this V-Day with life-like colored pencil chocolates

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.

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Gross-out chocolates make Valentine’s Day extra sweet for bitter singles

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.

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Sweetheart doesn’t have a sweet tooth? Give heart-shaped Japanese fish cakes for Valentine’s Day

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.

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