Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day, Japanese style

The Japanese celebrate Valentine's Day, but they have their own unique twist on this holiday: Women are expected to give chocolate to the men, not the other way around. These social expectations extend even to the workplace, where women feel obligated to give chocolate treats to their male bosses (but usually not coworkers). Of course, many women are, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about this. In fact, this resentment has spawned the term "giri choco," meaning "mandatory chocolate" ("choco" is a Japanese abbreviation of the English word "chocolate").


But the men aren't off the hook completely: They get to reciprocate one month later, on "White Day," a holiday invented by the Japanese confectionary industry as a day for men to give chocolate treats to the women who gave them something on Valentine's Day.


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