Valentine’s Day, A Cultural Difference

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but 62% of respondents on a survey conducted by Matsuya Ginza in Japan said they would invest in chocolate for themselves, according to the Japan Times. So much for partnerships.

Let’s take a moment to go over how we celebrate this day in both the U.S. and Japan. In the U.S., people gift chocolates or the occasional flowers and cards mainly to their significant others, yet, akin to Halloween, they generally also give some small chocolates such as Hershey Kisses to their close friends and family mainly for gratitude, appreciation, and love. It’s not uncommon to see teachers give their students a piece of chocolate.

In Japan, chocolates are broken down into two categories: giri-choco, chocolates one gives to their colleagues/friends as an obligation; and honmei-choco, chocolates one gives to someone they fancy, romantically. Women usually make the move on this day, handing giri-chocolates to their respective pool of colleagues and honmei-chocolates to a potential lover.

In return, the man gives back on White Day, one month after Valentine’s Day.

For this reason, department stores feature a wide fashion of chocolates, some large, some compact, some carved in a certain design. Select chocolatiers hire part-time staff just for the occasion.

JCCI has nothing in store for you on that day, save for a tax seminar presented by Deloitte LLP. Join us on Valentine’s Day and register here!

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