Food and Food: Asia and japan14 Feb 2011 05:42 pm

Although this is more personal than I typically like to get on my blog these days, Mike and I started officially dating on Valentines Day 5 or 6 years ago. Neither one of us is sure, so that is how I know it is true love. Of more excitement is the fact that this is our first celebration of that momentous occasion and first Valentines Day in Japan!

Valentines Day in Japan is a, you guessed it, odd affair. On February 14th, it is mostly men who receive chocolates from women. Then, a month later on White Day, the favour is returned to the ladies.

I braved the crowds recently to go to one of Okinawa’s ritziest department stores and buy some chocolates for Mike. If this person is your TRUE love you are supposed to handmake goodies, but I made him nachosĀ  and cinnamon buns earlier in the weekend, so I think we are square.

One of the many busy chocolate counters at the depachika, or department store basement food hall I visited

Handmade chocolates fall into the “honmei-choco” category; or chocolate for your true love. There are also pricier chocolates that are fancier and more individualized to the man’s interests and hobbies which could be given in this instance. The best of these probably come from department stores.

I pored over the chocolates left at the department store, looking at chocolate golf balls, truffles, liquor chocolates…I finally settled on something I know Mike loves; animals.

There was a line of “zoology” chocolate (“Zoology, The Chocolate World” from Matsukazeya company), with beautifully realistic looking chocolate animals. The detail was mind boggling. There were crocodile sets, including “eggs”, full zoo sets with stats on the animals and beautiful miniature solid turtles, gorillas and chimpanzees. Unfortunately by Saturday the coolest sets were gone, but I got some awesome little pigs for Mike, and a pack of chocolate “cigarettes.”

Mike said the chocolate was pretty good. I was just happy the department store wrapped it all up for me. They do such a great job.

There are also less expensive and impressive obligation chocolates, or “giri-no-choco.” These chocolates are mass produced and are given to men you have a working relationship with (hence the “obligation” part.) So in my case, I gave small pre-wrapped chocolates from the grocery store in little decorated baggies to the men of my school. These are not meant to indicate anything other than mutual respect or friendship. Although I felt foolish giving my “giri-choco” out, I am glad I did. They seemed well received.

That’s it for this Valentines Day…

…maybe next year I will be able to secure something even tastier and amazing from a Tokyo chocolatier. I am already thinking about it…

3 Responses to “my japanese valentine”

  1. on 15 Feb 2011 at 12:28 pm ReBekha

    A chocolate pig?? Amazing.

  2. on 17 Feb 2011 at 12:31 pm Ron

    haha hmmmmm. mike is a lucky boy. despite being here for eternity, we still celebrate valentines the western way and kind of forget white day exists. i want some piggy chocolates now.

  3. on 17 Feb 2011 at 7:21 pm Kate

    You are so adapted, crazy white girl with a kitchen. I <3 your blog so much. And did you have a monroe when you got here??? (and/or still have one and for some reason I've just never noticed?)