Valentine's Day in America is a day for lovers (and aspiring lovers) to exchange gifts and celebrate romance. Both men and women can give chocolates, flowers, and Valentine's cards to the special someone in their lives. But Japan does things a little differently. They split it up into TWO holidays, and each one has its own tradition. On Valentine's Day women give presents to men-- usually chocolate. It can be for romance (honmei or "true feeling" chocolate), but it is also common to give presents to coworkers and friends (jokingly referred to as giri or "duty" chocolate). Adults have fun with the holiday, but it can be a stressful event for schoolgirls across Japan because it is the one big day to confess feelings for your crush. Then on March 14th it's the guys' turn. It's called "White Day", and traditional gifts include cookies and cakes, white chocolate, gourmet marshmallow treats, and even jewelry. In the tradition of "sanbaigaeshi" (three times the return) men are expected to return the favor with interest by giving a bigger present back to all the women that gave them a gift. If someone gave you an expensive honmei chocolate, today is the day to show how much those feelings are reciprocated. Needless to say this tradition comes with its share of heartbreak, particularly among girls who have been waiting a full month to get their response only to be disappointed. But for most of Japan this is a fun holiday season to share treats and have a little fun.
So guys, change things up this year and surprise the women in your lives with something sweet on March 14th! What could be better for a Japanese tradition than Japan's finest chocolate-- ROYCE' has a wide range of creamy white chocolates that are sure to wow even the most discriminating sweet tooth.
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