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Valentine's Day Differences in Japan That You Can See

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For those who may not know, Japan’s Valentine’s Day is somewhat opposite of the men giving flowers and chocolates day that many of us are familiar with.

In Japan, women give chocolates to men, friends and colleagues. Stores will create sections for selling cutesy kits for homemade dessert-making, marketed to women. 

Men return the favor a month later on what’s called “White Day.” Clever for companies to make two days of gift giving out of one.

Here are a few of visible differences of Valentine’s Day in Japan.

Baked goods and chocolates sections of stores are 98%+ women.

You’ll rarely find men looking for ingredients to make chocolate treats for anyone. If you do, there’s a decent chance they’re non-Japanese.

Flower shops don’t package sales for Valentine’s Day.

Go to a random flower shop’s website and they allow for online ordering. They let you search bouquets by occasions like birthday, celebrations, presents and more. There will likely be no section to search for Valentine’s Day flowers. While they’re trying to change the culture to have men buy flowers for their female companions, it’s still not really a thing.

It’s just a normal day at work.

There are no deliveries of flowers to the office, no oohs and ahhs by female coworkers over how amazing their colleague’s boyfriend or husband is. It’s a normal, uneventful day. At my office, it was business as usual with most still at their seats at 7PM.

For those who are in intercultural relationships, good luck deciding on which Valentine’s day traditions you’ll follow!


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