Feb 14

WIT Life #378: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Interpreter/Translator/Writer Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as art, film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Happy Lunar New Year! It’s been a while since I’ve checked in, and I hope your Year of the Dragon is going well so far. Somehow we’ve already made it to Valentine’s Day, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones whether they are family, friends or pets.

Some interesting V-Day trends were shared on the Japanese news recently. As you might know, in Japan this holiday involves women gifting chocolate to men (and men returning the favor with cookies or other sweets during next month’s White Day). According to this year’s statistics, women’s average Valentine chocolate budget is 5024 yen (a little more than $33 at today’s exchange rate). This is 1200 yen ($8) more than last year’s average, or around 1.3 times that figure.

This budget includes 義理チョコ (giri choco, or obligation chocolate given to classmates or co-workers), 本命チョコ (honmei choco, or real deal chocolate given to someone you’re truly interested in), and 自分チョコ (jibun choco, or chocolate for oneself). 21.7% of women this year said they’re purchasing jibun choco, a jump from only 13.2% last year. As for giri choco, over 80% of women say they would rather not have to buy any, but considering its obligatory nature they might not have much of a choice. Happy Valentine’s Day all!

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