For the average guy, myself included, Valentine’s Day can be a nuisance. Men expected to pony up some serious cash for things like flowers, candy and jewelry just to show that special lady just how much you love her (In the form of a dollar value). In this modern day and age, women have gotten in the act too and will probably spring for a nice cologne for the man-friend, but it’s not really considered an obligation on the woman’s part (At least, that’s how my wife explained it to me).
If only we did things here in the western world the way they do it in Japan. There, the men are the ones who receive gifts. The Japanese way of doing Valentine’s Day stems from the women there, who were once too shy to tell a guy she had her eye on how she felt, sending a box of chocolates to let him know how she feels. Once a guy gets a box of chocolates on old February 14, he could be almost certain there’s a lady out there who’s into him. It’s actually such a big tradition in Japan that chocolate companies there record about half their year’s sales on that Valentine’s Day alone.
In case you’re wondering, guys usually return the favor on a day the Japanese made up called “White Day” on March 14.
Now you know.
Of course, there’s a flip side to all this. Whether you live in the eastern or western part of the world you run the risk of being one of the few people in your office who doesn’t get a Valentine’s Day gift delivered to your desk. That can be embarrassing, to say the least. It’s a problem in Japan too. Single guys hope that on the big day a little something sweet will be delivered to them, if for no other reason than to not look totally lonely and pathetic to their coworkers.
That’s where a handy little service over there comes into play. It’s called Valentine’s Day Insurance (Or Valentine-Hoken, in Japanese).
For ¥550 (About US$5.50) Japanese men can send themselves chocolates under the guise of it being sent by a mystery-woman named Rieko (The name on the card that’s included to complete the ruse). On February 14, the gifts are dropped off just like a regular Valentine’s Day present in front of everyone. SWEET! With this, that guy no longer has to worry about feeling pathetic about being the only one not receiving a Valentine’s Day token of affection (Only about having to send one to himself). An added bonus from this is he actually does receive chocolates from an interested lady. Then it looks like he has two admirers. BONUS!!!
So, once again, Japan proves that you don’t need other people to complete your life. All the love you need comes from the one person who truly matters: yourself.