White Day Shopping

So in Japan there’s a holiday called White Day. However, to understand this holiday you first have to understand the differences between Valentines’s Day in Japan and Valentine’s Day in America.

In Japan, girls give chocolates to guys. There are two types of chocolates that are given on Valentine’s Day: giri and honmei. Giri choco, obligation chocolate, is given to any guys that the girl meets on a regular basis or is indebted to. Giri choco recipients usually include friends, co-workers, and bosses. Honmei choco, lazily translated, means true feeling chocolate; basically girls give this to the guy they like. I actually think that the fact that giri chocolate exists is a triumph of advertising in Japan. I mean, it’s become a cultural standard to buy stuff for people you might not even be that close to; it is also fuels a lot of rumors but that doesn’t really matter to chocolate makers’ profits.

Anyways, White Day is a holiday in which men return gifts to the girls that gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day. This day stands as another glorious monument to the power of advertising, one of the unspoken rules of White Day is that the man is expected to return a present 3 times the worth of the present he received. This information led to speculation from Captain Crunch and I that Pirate would just hand out $100 bills to people on Valentine’s Day and rake in the profits on White Day.

So over the weekend I purchased my White Day gifts and handed them out on White Day (March 14th) to realize I was a couple presents short. Whoops.

The reason for this is that the girls in our section pitched in to buy chocolates for all of the guys in our section. Since only two of the girls come in at the start of the day, I mistakenly believed the chocolates were from only 2 of the 5 girls, which meant I was 3 gifts short on White Day. The end result being me biking into the shopping district of Imabari on White Day in order to scavenge the remains of stores for White Day chocolates.

I actually managed to procure the chocolates pretty quickly, and was about to leave with my purchases when I spotted the crane games. And a thought came to me, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to include something with the chocolates?’. So after taking a quick survey of the prizes I decided to grab some Kerokero Gunsou plushies. Unfortunately, I still haven’t quite grasped the concept of coins = money. America has brainwashed me into believing that coinage is not meant to represent any significant amount of money. Long story short, I ended up spending about $15 on the crane machine with only one plushie to show for it.

In the end I decided to justify the inequity of the gifts by giving the plushie to the girl who is leaving the company at the end of the month.

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6 Responses to White Day Shopping

  1. David says:

    I remember those days when I have to carry a whole suit case of gifts to Japan to give them to our customers, the travel agents. Of course, this is in addition to our boxes of brochures. Thank God that the airline was not too straight with the luggage weights at that time. Japaneses love gifts. Since we came from US, we couldn’t just buy gifts from local stores. We have to carry the salmons or moose jerkeys from Alaska.

  2. David says:

    Colgan, thank you for sharing this Valentine White days tradition. This is good that give a girl an opportunity to show their feeling especially for the shy girl. Very interesting. Did you receive any homei choco ?

  3. agnes says:

    girls are blind when it comes to my Colgan ;'(

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