The celebration of the Valentine's Day in Japan is a little different from the one in the rest of the world. In the post W.W. 2, a Japanese chocolate manufacture promoted the Valentine's Day is the day that the Japanese women give the chocolate to men who they like. In return, men give something back to the women on March 14, called the White Day.
On the Valentine's Day, it is a great chance for the Japanese women to profess one's secret feeling - love - to the special one, called 'honnmei choco' - the chocolate with real love. It is also common to give chocolates to male bosses, co-workers, male classmate, and even family members. Those chocolates are called 'giri-choco', literally means 'obligatory chocolate', and women are obliged to buy dozens of chocolate packages for the day. I personally think it doesn't sound quite right to call this as obligatory but to call 'thanks-always chocolate'. You will see the piles of chocolate packages in the special event sections for Valentine's Day in supermarkets, department stores, and even in 24hours convenience stores.
This unique chocolate culture is now widespread to the point that the young girls exchange chocolates with their female friends, called 'tomo-choco', friendship chocolate and my 8 years old daughter is more keen to give chocolates to her female friends than boys.
Apparently, there is a new trend that we, women, are allowed to buy expensive chocolates to ourselves, called 'jibun choco' - chocolates to oneself. The beautiful package of chocolates in the above picture was given from the mother-in-law to my daughter. It could be a very new trend that grandparents give chocolates to grandchildren, called ... maybe 'mago choco' - grandchildren choco?!
Honmei (real love), giri (obligatory/ or, thanks-always), tomo (friendship), jibun (to myself), perhaps, mago (grandchildren) chocolates ... whatever, whoever it is, the Valentine's Day will be filled with love, friendship ... and chocolates in Japan.