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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And We Thought Valentine's was Tough in the US

This morning as I was driving to work listening to Scott Slade of WSB (as I do most every morning because of the traffic reports), I learned something very curious. According to Scott (who I trust implicitly), 70% of Japanese women hate Valentine's Day. Why is this? Is it because Japanese men are not romantic? Is it because Japanese women hate chocolate, diamonds, and flowers? No.

I did a little research and discovered that in Japan, Valentine's Day is celebrated twice. Yes, it's true. The Japanese celebrate Valentine's Day today, and then they celebrate again on March 1st (they call that day "White Day.") The rub is that on February 14th, the women have to gift the men in their lives with chocolate (this includes co-workers). Then the women have to wait a full two weeks to be gifted by the men on "White Day." The traditional gift for the women is white chocolate or lingerie. It's no wonder Japanese women dread today. Poor girls.

It would seem, however,
that the younger generation of Japanese working women are taking a stand. According to Yahoo news, more and more women are taking the day and buying cheap chocolates for the men, but keeping the expensive chocolates for themselves. I don't support being selfish, but a girl's got to draw the line somewhere, right?

The Japanese themselves blaim the confectionary industry for this cultural Valentine's travesty. Apparently, the confectionary manufacturers created this double-edged sword for Japanese women to deal with back in 1947, when business was really rugged for them. The industry still counts on these two holidays to support their finances because, unlike Western candy companies, they don't have a booming Christmas or Easter rush.

So, ladies, as you pick through the box of Godiva's that your sweetie gave you on this day of days, or as you model the new diamond to your girlfriends, give a thought to your Japanese sisters, and the sacrifices they are making in anticipation of March 1st.


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