Life in Japan

White Day in Japan

14 March 2013

It’s White Day today!

What is White Day? Before I can talk about White Day, I must first talk about Valentines’ Day in Japan.

Unlike in Singapore, where the guy buys flowers and brings the girl out for dinner on Valentines’ Day, it’s the opposite in Japan. On that day, girls give chocolates to guys instead!

There are two kinds of chocolates:

  • 本命チョコ (honmei-choco, lit. true feeling chocolate)
    Chocolates that girls give to the person she likes/loves. Usually more expensive or homemade.
  • 義理チョコ (giri-choco, lit. obligation chocolate)
    Chocolates that girls give to males whom she has no romantic attachments for. Colleagues, fellow classmates, etc. Usually cheap and of lower quality.

One month later, on March 14 – White Day, guys are supposed to reciprocate by giving gifts to girls. This time, it’s not limited to chocolates, but can be anything from cookies to watches to bags.

I was watching a TV program, where they interviewed some girls, asking how much they spent in total on Giri-choco. Most quoted figures around 2,000yen (SGD 26). One girl said she spent 70,000yen (SGD 950). I think I jumped up from the sofa when I heard that. $900 on chocolates?! But she said she had a lot of male colleagues (~100) and she had to get for them all.

The interviewer then asked if she received gifts in return on White Day. She said yes, plenty. One even gave her a Bvlgari watch! Which she promptly sold off at a pawnshop lol. Poor guy. I think he would be heartbroken if he ever found out.

The other day when I was grocery shopping and randomly looking at the massive displays of chocolates and cookies for White Day, I overheard this lady asking:

Lady: Hey, which one should we get?
-no reply-
Lady: Ok, we need to get one for Sara-chan, one for Miko-chan, one for…*babbles on*
-no reply-

Curious, I looked in the direction of the one-sided conversation and saw this mom talking to her son, who couldn’t be more than 6 years old. He was carrying several packages of Hello Kitty chocolates, trailing after his mom.


I guess the confectionery companies should pat themselves on the shoulder, having so successfully marketed the gimmick and children are sold into this “social obligation” idea from such a young age.

Even though I say so much, actually I have nothing against it. Hahaha. I love chocolates and I welcome any excuse to buy/eat them!

These are my White Day gifts! No watches, but who needs those when I have chocolate!

The chewy caramel is soooo yummy! I’ve already finished it. Yesterday.

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