TOKYO: Japanese women flocked to department stores to buy Valentine’s Day chocolates for all the men in their lives, but more of them this year are dispensing with tradition and treating themselves or their friends.
In much of the West, Feb 14 is a day when men can sink or swim on their ability to make impressive dinner plans or buy a suitable bunch of flowers.
But in Japan it is the women who make the running, buying “honmei” (true love) chocolates for the husband or lover, and “giri” (obligation) treats for colleagues and bosses.
The custom stretches back to the late 1950s when a firm called Mary Chocolate began advertising Valentine’s Day as “the only day of the year a woman professes her love through presenting chocolate”.
Sayaka Aizawa, a 29-year-old housewife shopping for sweets at the Matsuzakaya department store in Tokyo, was unaware other countries celebrated the day differently.
“I have never thought of it. I thought women were supposed to give chocolate. I wish I were receiving them, but it’s not happening in Japan,” she said. — AFP