In Japan, St. Valentine's Day, February 14, is a day for women to give chocolates to men. But there are interesting versions of chocolates available these day. Let's look at them.
The above custom dates back to the 1950s. Many women used to express their love to their boyfriends or someone in mind by giving them chocolates on that day. Since then, men had been competing each other and saw how many chocolate they had received.
At that time, the commercials recommending hand-made chocolates were often seen on TV and we all used to pursue the pure love in the presents.
In the 1970s, the situation changed. Ladies started to give "GIRI-CHOCO (friendship or obligation chocolate)" to their male colleagues and boss in working space.
They put a big chocolate package on the cabinet in the office and pasted a memo telling "please help yourself to the chocolate". Oh my god! The pure love had gone away.
A news recently drew public attention. 40% of working ladies responded that if they were asked for "GIRI-CHOCO" in the office, they would feel a kind of power harassment. Actually there are some companies that banned the "GIRI-CHOCO" in the office. Those who receive even a piece of chocolate under the circumstance should feel really happy because it should be full of pure loves inside(Maybe?).
The style has further been evolving these days.
"TOMO-CHOCO(freiend-chocolate)" given to female friends
SEWA-CHOCO(help-chocolate)" given to those who helped them
"GYAKU-CHOCO(Reverse-chocolate)" given from men to women
"JIBUN-CHOCO (my chocolate)" given to themselves as yearly reward.
The chocolate sales has been growing year by year. All department stores and supermarkets set up a special corner for St. Valentin's Day together with a variety of chocolates.
When you come to Japan late January or early February, please drop by them and find tons of specialized chocolates, such as classical, colorful, anime, cute and expensive type. Any types of the chocolates can be found there.
Most of them are special, and only available during the sales period till February 14. Why don't you find your favorite one and the GIRI-CHOCO for your friends as souvenirs.