Valentine's Day in Japan!

Gift giving in Japan is a big deal. There's an art to it here - people are in a constant struggle to provide equal-or-better gifts in return for previous gifts. So it should be no surprise that Japanese culture has adopted a few gift giving holidays from the west, including Valentine's Day.

Things are a bit different here, though. On Valentine's Day, women give men gifts - usually chocolate - but men don't give anything in return. It's a time for women to show men they like them, where normally they might be too shy or reserved to say anything outright.

Not all gifts are signs of love, though: women might give all the men in the office a small "obligation" gift. And the holiday carries down to the children, as girls bring sweets for the boys in class.

So is this fair? The women do all the shopping while the men don't have to buy anything! Well, not quite. One month later men give gifts to the women on a day known as White Day.

Most of the stores have Valentine's Day advertising campaigns, with sometimes quite-large areas of the floor devoted to chocolates and other gifts. Kiosks and tables are set up in the malls with even more sweets selection. It's a big deal here!
I received my first gift yesterday (Friday) evening, from one of the children. It's very kawaii (cute)! Chocolate covered marshmallows with sprinkles and little silver balls (are those edible? I think they are). And it came in a cute Mickey and Minnie bag!

Should I receive any more gifts this weekend and Tuesday, I'll be sure to share!

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