Since coming to Japan, I’ve become a novice chocolate connoisseur just because I literally try a different type of chocolate everyday. Why? Because:
- Japanese chocolate is amazing. It has less sugar than American versions and the milk is nicer quality. Despite eating it everyday, I’ve lost weight since being here.
- There’s about a billion different varieties of chocolate products in this country. O.o
So, I’ve been paying attention to the supermarkets and convenience stores. And a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, the chocolate displays start looking more appetizing than usual.
It’s hard to tell from the pic, but that’s a giant chocolate bar. The paper sign on the right is standard printer paper size.
When Japanese people incorporate a western holiday, they mold it to fit cultural standards. There’s a lot of ritual behavior passed through the centuries, but it’s funny to see when they create new traditions with various interesting customs and whole-heartedly commit to them (i.e. Christmas cake and Kentucky Fried Chicken).
The main Valentine’s Day tradition is the giving of chocolate. Usually girls give to boyfriends and male friends. The more “special” the chocolate, the more the girl is interested in the boy. Then they wait until “White Day,” when the boys return the favor with White Chocolate. My friends also said girls give chocolate to their female friends, and older women give chocolate to their male coworkers.
Various chocolate products are the norm year-round, so to make it special, they got to roll out with specialty products:
- “Belgian” chocolate
- Ferrero Rocher
- “BonBons” filled with brandy, wine or whiskey
- Giant Meiji bars
- giant bags filled with meltable chocolate for DIY projects
- and more!
The “First Valentine” for パパ (Papa) caught my eye haha.