Every February, we celebrate a day in the name of St. Valentine with candies, chocolates, flowers and gifts. To many, Valentine’s Day is just another costly holiday following Christmas.
This year, while you may be unable to completely ignore the holiday, here’s a tip for guys to delay Valentine’s Day for a month: Follow Japanese and Korean Valentine’s Day traditions. Valentine’s Day in Japan and Korea is known as a “girls’ love-confession day.” Boys don’t have to do anything but wait for girls to express their feelings to them.
“I have received chocolates from more than 10 girls who were interested in me when I was in high school,” said senior Kwansoo Kim, 27, a finance major. Girls usually prepare chocolates and occasionally small gifts, such as cologne or a card, to give the men they admire.
“On Valentine’s Day, I used to check a drawer in my desk at school see if there were any gifts from girls,” said Andy Yanaka, a 26-year-old junior biology major.
In the workplace, males who receive chocolate from female co-workers have greater chances of promotion, according to Asian studies program director Kathy Uno.
“The amount of chocolate men receive at work is obviously an index of their popularity with female co-workers, but it also has implications for a man’s [potential for promotion],” Uno said in an e-mail interview. “A man who is disliked by female workers who are often in subordinate positions is not viewed as a good potential manager.”
Receiving chocolate from Japanese girls isn’t always a sign of love. The gift could be “giri-choco,” which means “obligation chocolate.”
Japanese girls give out chocolates not only to their loved ones, but also to colleagues, friends and relatives even though they have no attachment to them.
“Japanese style Valentine’s Day can be painful for those who are not popular. Since I was certainly not the most attractive guy in my middle school and high school, I remember I was always disappointed not getting any chocolates form girls,” Yanaka said.
“Unfortunately, the only thing that I got in those days was a giri-choco from my mother.”
After confessing their love, girls must wait a month until “White Day” on March 14 to hear the particular boy’s response. Waiting for a month may sound like endless torture, but the time gives boys the chance to decide if a girl is the “right one.”
On “White Day,” boys give candies or gifts to their girlfriends or to a girl they like who has confessed their love to them.
In Korea, “Black Day” helps people who have nothing to do with either Valentine’s Day or “White Day.” These sad people get together in black costume to encourage each other.
“I got together with three of my single friends and ate Chchangmyon, black noodle,” said Hun Hee Lee, 29, a nursing student.
“Black Day is a fun day which gives me a reason to hang out with friends whom I don’t see so often.”
Chie Masuda can be reached at email@example.com.