I posted a week ago about my White Day in Japan (March 14th, 2018). The video above shows the gifts my husband brought me and my (failed) attempt to cut the cake.
I wanted to share a few more details about this holiday.
Like many holidays that involve buying stuff, this one has become very commercialized. In 1978 a confectionary company invented the holiday and it spread like wildfire in the years after. In Japan women give the men chocolate and gifts on Valentine’s Day. A month later on March 14th, the men are expected to repay the favor.
There are phrases to describe this:
義理チョコ, ‘courtesy chocolate’
This is simply the men repaying chocolate that was given out of politeness (co-workers, classmates, ect.). There is no romantic meaning involved to this type.
When it is a gesture of love, then the White Day gifts are called:
本命チョコ, ‘chocolate of love’
It’s also heavily hinted that the men should repay the favor in triple what the women gave. Which is called:
三倍返し, ‘triple the return’
I didn’t know about this until I looked it up. I wonder if this is why my husband gave so much . He was so happy when he showed me my White Day gifts. When I picked him up at the train station, he stashed them in the trunk so I wouldn’t see.
I think a lot of Japanese men don’t enjoy White Day. They find it “stressful” to pick out gifts. My husband on the other hand seems to find enjoyment in it like I do .
I like gift-giving when it’s for someone who appreciates it.
I remember when I first went to Mt. Fuji I found this keychain shaped like cute, red backpack for a friend’s eight year old daughter. The reason I thought she’d like it is because it looked like her elementary school bag.
I spent about 500 yen on it.
When I said I got her a present, she perked up with excitement until she saw it. I remember feeling like I’d wasted my money and done a bad thing as she turned up her nose and said, “A keychain? That’s not cool!”
Her mother was horrified and ordered her to thank me. The “thank you” was given with a loud, “Ugh! But it’s a stupid present”. Then the mother and daughter argued as I sat there wanting to leave. I was floored by the girl’s attitude. I know she was eight, but even I knew to show appreciation even if I secretly didn’t like the gift. The mother forced her to “thank me”, and after giving a grudging “thank you”, followed by an eye roll, the girl stuffed the keychain in her bag like trash to be disposed of later. She came across as very spoiled, and I never did anything for her again after that.
It was a good lesson.
The main reason I never wanted to give to her again because it wasn’t enjoyable. That might sound strange that gift-giving should be fun for the giver, but for me it is if it’s for someone I care about. My husband seems to be the same.
White Day, like Valentine’s Day, can be great fun if it’s for someone you enjoy making happy.