Tag Archives: Valentines

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.

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.

The 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th

12 Feb

Have you seen the photos of the “2001 September 11th attacks” on the World Trade Center towers in New York City that were recently made public?

These photos were taken by New York Police Officers who were on the scene in a police helicopter.

Here are some of the photos they took:

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The 2010 Winter Olympics will take place in Vancouver, Canada.
The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin on Friday, 2010 February 12th in the evening…Canada time. So, it’ll be Saturday, 2010 February 13th here in Japan when the ceremony begins.

The official 2010 Olympics logo.

The games will go from 2010 February 12-28 (Canada time).
Do you watch the Olympics?
I watch them…but the games go for over two weeks—I don’t watch everyday of the games. I like to watch some of the opening ceremony and some of the closing ceremony and a few games in between.

This year, Japan is sending 95 athletes to compete in the Olympics, America is sending 216, and Canada (the host country) will have 206 athletes play.
How many athletes from your country will be at the 2010 Olympics?

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Sunday, February 14th will be Valentine’s Day.
How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in your country?

In Japan, it’s done the opposite of how America celebrates it. And Japan has another holiday (called “White Day“) in March that is more similar to Western-style Valentine’s.

Click here to read my FAQ about Valentine’s Day in Japan…
and click here to read my post that explains Japanese Valentine’s (and other holidays in February) in more detail.

Also, this year on February 14 will be the Chinese New Years.
I mentioned it on my site’s “Festivals In Tokyo” page….click here to read it.

Have you ever experienced a Chinese New Years ceremony?
If you’re in the Tokyo area this weekend, you can go to 「横浜中華街」 (“Yokohama China Town“) and see a Chinese New Years ceremony.

Western Stores in Tokyo

14 Feb

Many overseas companies want to open shops in Japan.
The Japanese market is very lucrative…for companies that prove to be popular here. But the Japanese consumer is very finicky. Companies that don’t meet Japanese expectations are doomed to fail.

For example, the American donut company, Dunkin’ Donuts, is popular in America. But when they opened stores in Japan, the Japanese people found their donuts too sweet…and Dunkin’ Donuts was  unable to stay in Japan.

dunkin-donuts1

On the other hand, the less-sweet American donut chain Mister Donuts is very popular in Japan. (Ironically, Mister Donuts isn’t very popular in America).

misdo

"Mister Donut" in Tokyo

Krispy Kreme Donuts set up shops in Tokyo recently, too.

krispy

Some American chains have been bought by a Japanese company and were brought here by their new Japanese owners. For example, the convenience store chain 7-Eleven was bought by the Japanese department store Ito-Yokado. (A couple years ago Ito-Yokado changed the signs on their department stores to reflect their connection with the popular convenience store they own…their signs now say “Seven & i Holdings” on the Ito-Yokado stores.)

7-Eleven (and other convenience stores) are very popular in Japan. Japan is a small country, but there are almost twice as many 7-Eleven stores here than in all of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico combined!

Convenience stores in Japan are very different from their counterparts in America. Japanese convenience stores are great!

7-11

7 & i Holdings, the Japanese company that owns 7-Eleven also owns the restaurant chain Denny’s. Denny’s in Japan have a different menu than Denny’s in America. I like Denny’s Japan better (but that may be because I’ve been in Japan for awhile now, and I’m more used to Japanese style food).

デニーズ・レストラン「セブン&アイ HLDGS」 (Denny's Restaurant (Seven & i Holdings)

デニーズ・レストラン「セブン&アイ HLDGS」 (Denny

The American bakery Vie de France is in Japan, too. But it’s not American anymore either…Yamazaki Bread owns this company. I like Vie de France. Their bread is excellent.

vie-de-france

Of course, American fast-food chains are here…

mac

ケンタッ�ー (KFC) in Japan.

ケンタッキー (KFC) in Japan.

wendys

pizza-hut

shakeys2

dominos

I have wrote a post about Domino’s Pizza in Japan. Click here to see it.

I like Subway sandwich shop, alot. The Japanese Subway sandwich shop. The menu is much better at Subway Japan than the U.S. branches.

subway

There are Japanese fast-food restaurants, too.  These include MOS Burger, First Kitchen, and Freshness Burger (which has beer on the menu! 🙂 ). Occasionally you can still find a  Dom-Dom Burger, and there used to be a chain called Love Hamburger. Love Hamburger went out-of -business about 12 years ago and the U.S. chain Burger King bought all of the Love Burger shops and opened Burger King in Japan in the late ’90s…but they made the ill-fated decision to offer only a limited menu to test the Japanese market. That didn’t go over well and soon they went out-of-business in Japan, too.

But recently, Burger King decided to re-try the Japanese market…and I guess they learned from their past mistakes—they seem to be doing well in Japan now.

burger-king

There are also branches of Sizzler, Outback, and Tony Romas in Japan.

sizzleroutback

romas

All of these foreign companies that have stores in Tokyo (How many of these have stores in your town? Do you shop at any of these?):

bubba

tgif

red_lobster

el-torito

hrc

"Shell" Gas
"Mobil" Gas harley-japan1

citibank

starbucks "HMV" CD / DVD store "Tower Records" in 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo)
"Disney Store", Tokyo gap hilton

prada

chanel

vuitton

"The Body Shop" in Tokyo

"The Body Shop" in Tokyo

"Godiva Chocolate" in Tokyo

"Godiva Chocolate" in Tokyo

claires2

Toys "Я" Us

Toys "Я" Us

There are other foreign companies here, too…but you get the idea.

All of these foreign companies have to keep on their toes and provide the service and products that the Japanese expect…and for each of these foreign stores in Japan, there are Japanese companies that provide similar products that they have to compete with.  But if the effort is worth it…Japan is the most profitable market for most of these companies.

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Anyways, today is Valentine’s Day.
My wife and daughters made delicious chocolate for me.
(Click here to read a post I wrote about Valentines Day in Japan).

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湯島天神

2 Feb

Yesterday we went to 湯島天神 (Yushima-Tenjin Shrine) in 上野 (Ueno, Tokyo).

The 梅の花 (Plum blossoms) were beginning to bloom. (They had posters up advertising their annual 梅の祭 (Plum Festival) that they will hold beginning next week.)

It’s a beautiful shrine…especially when the plum blossoms are in bloom.

At the shrine, my wife and I each bought a cup of 甘酒 (a hot, sweet fermented rice drink. (lit. sweet sake)). It’s often sold at Japanese shrines in the winter.
It was good.

Here are a few photos I took yesterday:

Booth selling "Daruma".

Booth selling "Daruma".

千羽鶴 ("1000 Paper Cranes") for luck.

千羽鶴 ("1000 Paper Cranes") for luck.

Plum blossom

Plum blossom

From the shrine, we went to a nearby department store (I have a wife and three teenage daughters. Of course, they love to shop!).

The floor selling make-up and women’s clothes also had a display of Valentine’s chocolates (I mentioned in a previous post that women give hand-made chocolate to men on Valentine’s Day in Japan. Click here to read it.)

「ハートチョコ」 (♥-shaped chocolate) and 「ハートせんべい」 (♥-shaped rice crackers)

「ハートチョコ」 (♥-shaped chocolate) and 「ハートせんべい」 (♥-shaped rice crackers)

「ハートせんべい」 ( ♥-shaped rice crackers)

「ハートせんべい」 ( ♥-shaped rice crackers)

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By the way, those visitors to my site who are in Japan…did you feel that 地震 (earthquake) at about 6:30AM yesterday?