Tag Archives: Valentines Day

Valentine Pizza

14 Feb

Today is Valentines Day.

Japan celebrates Valentines Day too…but not the same way as in America and other western countries.

Also, Japan has an “original” holiday one month later that is more similar to America’s Valentines Day.

Click here to read a post that I wrote three years ago that explains Valentines Day and White Day in Japan.

In addition to what I wrote in that post, Dominos Pizza in Japan offers a heart-shaped pizza for Valentines Day.

valentine-pizza

Valentines Day pt.2

14 Mar

Today (March 14) is ホワイトディ (“White Day”) in Japan.

whiteday

In Japan, Valentines Day is on February 14th like it is in the West…but, here, women give chocolate (often homemade) to men.
And then one month later, on March 14th, men repay the women with a present…it’s called “White Day”.

Men give women candy or some other gift on White Day in Japan…so, this day is actually more similar to Valentines Day in the West than Japanese Valentines Day is.

Click here to read a post that I wrote that explains a bit more about Valentines Day and White Day in Japan.

Valentines

14 Feb

Today is Valentines Day.
In 西洋 (“western”) countries such as America, men give a gift such as chocolate or flowers to the woman he loves…and often he takes her to a restaurant for dinner.

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated quite differently.

In Japan, women give chocolate to men on Valentines Day.
And not only to the men they love. They will make home-made chocolate or cookies for their husband or boyfriend.
And then they will buy boxes of chocolate for their boss at work (provided their boss is male), male co-workers, brother-in-law, etc. (their father and brothers may get hand-made chocolate or store bought).

Most of the Valentines Day chocolates that women in Japan give is called 「義理チョコ」 (“Obligation chocolate“) because it’s given out of obligation.
「本命チョコ」 (“True love chocolate“) is the handmade (or more expensive store-bought) chocolate that the women give their husband or boyfriend.

And then, on March 14, exactly one month after Valentines Day, is the Japanese original holiday called “White Day“.
On White Day, men must give chocolate or cookies to every woman who gave them a Valentines Day gift in February.
Men don’t normally hand-make White Day chocolates, but just like Valentines…they give “Obligation chocolate” to the women who had given them one and a “True love” gift for their wife or girlfriend.

Click here to see my FAQ about Valentines Day in Japan.

On their website, the Japanese confectioner 「不二家」 (“Fujiya”) is offering free downloads of various “Valentines Day message cards” that you can print and write a message to someone special when you give them a Valentines Day present.

Click here to go to the “Fujiya Valentines Day Cards” page.

Spring customs

13 Mar

I don’t remember most of the lesser known American holidays, so correct me if I’m wrong.
But, as I remember, in America there are some spring customs but no legal holidays.

First, February 2 is “Groundhog Day” in America.
A groundhog is a type of マーモット…

A groundhog.

Not to be confused with 「モルモット」, which means “guinea pig” in Japanese.

A guinea pig.

In America, on Groundhog Day people watch a groundhog to see if he leaves his burrow or not.
If he does, that’s supposed to mean that spring will start soon…if he returns to his burrow after sticking his head out, that means the cold winter weather will continue longer.

At least that’s how I remember it. It’s an odd custom.

April 1st is called “April Fool’s Day“.

On this day in America, people play practical jokes on each other…if someone falls for one of these practical jokes, then he’s labeled a “fool” for the day–the “April Fool“.

Also Easter, I believe, is on the first Sunday of April.
This is a religious Christian holiday.
Many people in America, Canada (and maybe some European countries too) paint Easter eggs and “the Easter Bunny” gives baskets of chocolate to children.

School students get a week or so “Spring Break” holiday from school…but it’s not the end of the school year yet (as it is in Japan). Summer Break is the end of the U.S. school year.

In Japan spring is different.
Here, the school year ends in March and begins after spring in April.
Students in Japan who will be starting high school or college must take Entrance Exams. (My second daughter passed her Entrance Exam and will be starting high school next month).

At almost the same time as Groundhog Day in the U.S., Japan has Setsubun on February 2nd every year.

In March, Japan has Doll Festival on March 3rd, and White Day on March 14th (tomorrow). But those aren’t legal holidays (I mean, they’re not days off).
But around March 20th is 「春分の日」 (Spring Equinox) is a legal holiday. This year, Spring Equinox is Sunday, March 21st…so it’ll will be observed the next day—Monday, March 22nd will be a day off.
Many people visit their family grave on this day.

A big holiday season in Japan occurs in spring. It’s called “Golden Week“.
Golden Week is technically May 3rd – May 5th (「憲法記念日」 (Constitution Day), 「緑の日」 (Greenery Day), and 「子供の日」 (Children’s Day) respectively)…but often 「昭和の日」 (Showa Day), which is on April 29th, is included.
So, some people get Golden Week holiday from April 29th – May 5th.

And, of course, a very important springtime custom in Japan is 「花見」 (Cherry-Blossom Viewing).

Krispy Kreme White Day

2 Mar

As I mentioned in a previous post, Valentines Day is done differently in Japan than in the West…but on March 14th, Japan has a holiday called “White Day” which is closer to Western-style Valentines Day.

Click here to read my F.A.Q. about “White Day“.

From now until March 14 in Japan, the donut chain “Krispy Kreme” is selling special donuts for “White Day“.

The White Day donuts look like this:

Actually, I still have never tried a Krispy Kreme donut yet. Are they good?
Maybe I’ll get some of these for my wife and daughters on White Day…I’ll think about it.

ショコラブルワリー

17 Feb

As I mentioned in my previous post, I got Valentines chocolate from a few people, as is common in Japan…but the best ones were the chocolates that my daughters made me.
And also, the gift from my wife.

This year’s Valentine’s Day, my wife bought 「サッポロ ショコラブルワリー」 (“Sapporo Chocolat Brewery”) chocolate beer for me.

I love beer and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth…so this was perfect for me. It was a slightly dark beer with a hint of bitter chocolate.

A Canadian who’s living in Tokyo also wrote a post about this beer on is blog…click here to see his post.

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Also, Japan got it’s first two medals in the 2010 Olympics yesterday.
Both were in the Men’s 500 meter Speed Skating competition.

Keiichiro Nagashima won the silver and Joji Kato got bronze.

Olympic tragedy

14 Feb

We’re watching the 2010 Winter Olympics live on TV right now.
It started this morning (Sunday) and it’s currently about 1PM here in Tokyo. So I guess the games are being played in the evening in Canada (Sunday, 1:00PM in Tokyo = Saturday, 8:00PM in Vancouver).

As of right now, Japan doesn’t have any medals yet.
Ten countries have at least one medal each so far.

2010 Olympic medal stats (as of 2010 Feb 14, 1:20PM, JST)

If you want to see an up-to-date listing of the medal statistics, check out the 2010 Olympics medals page.

But, I’m sure you’ve heard how the 2010 Olympics started in tragedy.

Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was a 21 year old athlete from the country of Georgia who was on his country’s luge team, died in a terrible accident before the beginning of the games’ opening ceremony.

He flew off the Olympic luge track at high speed and smashed into a metal pillar during a training run.

He was air-lifted to hospital unconscious but died at the hospital.

The Georgia team was going to pull-out of the 2010 Olympics because of this tragedy, but finally decided to continue.
They wore black armbands in remembrance of Nodar Kumaritashvili as they marched in the opening ceremony.

Nodar Kumaritashvili, R.I.P.

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On a different note, today is Valentine’s Day.
Click here to see the post I wrote that explains how this holiday is different in Japan compared to Western countries.

So, my youngest daughter made some homemade chocolate for me.
I took a couple pictures:

The box of chocolate that my daughter gave me.

The chocolates she made for me...they were delicious!

The chocolates that my daughter made for me...they were delicious!