Writer: Eveline Stella Budiman Photographer: Mario Nathanael Elfadi & Reinardus Darren Illustrator: Fadil Rangga
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz
February 14th is the day love is celebrated. Gifts are exchanged and love is spread throughout the entire day. People all around the world celebrate their day with their loved ones, but if you happen to be in Japan during this time of the year, you might notice how different Valentine’s day is celebrated in the land of the rising sun.
Valentine’s Day Just like how it is in many countries, Valentine’s Day is a day when people show their affection to their loved ones. Chocolate is one of the most common things that men give to women as a sign of love during Valentine’s day in most countries, but not in Japan. In this day of love, women are the ones who do the gift-giving while men are on the receiving end.
Giri-choco and Tomo-choco Giri-choco 義理チョコis what people call the ‘obligation chocolate’. This chocolate is seen merely as a gift that women share with their male acquaintances, bosses, co-workers, or anyone that are not romantically connected. These chocolates are usually the ones that are sold in stores and relatively inexpensive. Tomo-choco 友チョコ, on the other hand, are the chocolates women share among their female friends. Usually, women who spend their Valentine’s day with their friends make Tomo-choco together, and at the end of the day, the chocolates are given to each other as a token of appreciation for their friendship.
Honmei-choco Honmei-choco 本命チョコ , which roughly translated as “a heart’s desire chocolate”, is the type of chocolate that women give to their special someone or the person they are romantically attracted to. These chocolates are usually the expensive ones sold in stores or home-made. These chocolates take a lot of time and effort to make as it represents the girl’s true feelings and compassion for those who are going to receiving their honmei-choco.
Jibun-choco Valentine’s day is the day when love is truly in the air. This does not mean that you can’t have the day all to yourself. Jibun-choco 自分チョコ are “self-chocolates” – chocolates people buy or make to treat themselves. After all, loving yourself comes first and there is no better way to treat yourself than with some mouth-watering chocolates.
White Day March 14th might be a normal day for those living in several parts of the world – but not in Japan and a few other countries in Asia. This particular date is designated as White Day – the day when males return the favor to those who have given them Honmei-choco during Valentine’s Day. Usually, men are expected to give their loved ones something that is worth three times the cost of what the female spend on Valentine’s Day. The gift ranges from being Gyaku-choco 逆チョコ – which literally means the “reverse chocolate” – to expensive jewelry.
Valentine’s Day is the day of love and love comes in so many forms. Spend the day with your loved ones or even confess with a box full of Honmei-choco in hand. For all the singletons on Valentine’s Day, be your own Valentine and treat yourself to a box of chocolate. It doesn’t matter if you are celebrating this day with your beloved or riding solo; make the most out of the day and have an amazing Valentine’s Day!