Wednesday, February 14, 2007

All the Hallmarks of a holiday

No Valentine's day post would be complete without a link to the eternal embrace.

Valentine's day in Japan (and Korea) differs from the traditional form that we celebrate in the West. On this day it is only the woman who gives the gift (usually chocolates). The man then thinks he has got the better deal. However, this is a double bluff. A month later is the man's turn to give a gift to the woman. With a month's warning now the man is in twice as much trouble when he forgets!

In fact this tradition has become somewhat of a burden as the women in an office are often expected to buy chocolates and flowers for all their male co-workers. The translation of this gift is 'obligation chocolate'.

Anyway, enjoy your day and if you don't, then partake of the Korean tradition whereby the men who don't receive a gift get together in March to mourn over bowls of black noodles.

2 comments:

Kevin S. said...

Why can't China be more like Korea and Japan?

Actually, my wife told me that in China if you wish someone a Happy Valentine's Day it usually means that you have feelings for them. Not like in the States (and the UK?) where you can wish it to anyone.

Jonathan Shock said...

If you mean in general then China would lose a great deal of its character and charm, however difficult and annoying these things may be on occasion, if it became more like Korea and Japan - I'm speaking from afar with rose-tinted spectacles :-).

It will be a sad day when East Asia becomes homogenised, though with China's current rise I can't see that happening any time soon.

In terms of Feb 14th, in the UK you may wish someone a happy Valentine's day, but I don't think you would give a card unless it meant something a bit more. Is that different from China?