A little compilation, but click on the text links not on the photos (sorry I’m lazy, but linking the thumbnails to the posts would be very time-consuming).
CHOCOLATE AND AZUKI BEANS
Valentine Day in Japan.
It differs from other country’s V-day.
Of course, there are few Christians and the celebration is not of religious origine. It was created as a marketing event. In 1936, an expat chocolate artisan called Morozoff started promoting the “Valentine Day chocolates”. It became popular from the 1950′s.
Japanese tradition became this in the 80′s and 90′s :
On February 14th, Valentine Day : Ladies offer small boxes of chocolates to gentlemen they find attractive. And they also offer some to gentlemen they don’t care about, to avoid making them upset. Those are “giri choko” (obligation chocolates).
On March 14 th, White Day : Gentlemen that received chocolates give a thank-you present to all ladies that made them a gift. The value varies a lot, depending on their feelings for the ladies.
There were legends, in the glorious days of VD-WD, about guys receiving a tiny box of 1 piece of al’cheapo chocolate and thanking with a luxury brand hand-bag or a jewel. And also horrid stories, about naive young women living their first workplace VD, giving “giri choco” to all coworkers, but then they received the most vulgar pieces of lingerie from creepy middled aged guys, that were their managers. From dreams to nightmares.
Now, it became a old. Not fun anymore. So in the last 10 years or so, the number of people playing the game has decreased. In the 1990′s, I could see handsome young guys receiving several times their weight in chocolates, from all women aged 5 to 95, in a circle of 5 km around them, coworkers, customers, neighbors… Now, they get only a few. Maybe of better quality, and with more sincere feelings.
But the taste for chocolate is still here. So Valentine Day is still the big promotional campaign. They sell some everywhere now. The thing is most people probably buy more for themselves, or to share with family or real friends, than to give around to boring coworkers. It seems these days, the industry wants us to by tomo-choko (friendship chocolates). Anything is good to sell…