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Valentine’s Day in Two Countries

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

As an American, Valentine’s Day is a special day. Husbands and wives give each other presents. Girlfriends and boyfriends give each other presents. We give presents or have dinner with special people. It can be a romantic and special day.

Japan has Valentine’s Day, too. However, Japan also has “obligation chocolate.” I did not know that when I moved to Japan years ago. When someone gave me chocolates on Valentine’s Day, I was surprised. I thought, “OH, she likes me? I am special to her? Really?”

Then I heard about obligation chocolate. The chocolates I received were 100% obligation, 0% interest. And then I heard about White Day. I learned I had to spend money one month later. I appreciated the sweets because they were delicious, so I was OK with the obligation, but it made Valentine’s Day less special.

Recently, many people in Japan have stopped giving or receiving obligation chocolate. I hope that Japanese people continue enjoying Valentine’s Day, and make it a special day with special people. I still like sweets, but I can buy them for myself.

obligation 義理、義務
obligation chocolate 義理チョコ
appreciate 感謝する
recently 最近