英語でニッポンをフカボリ！ DID YOU KNOW…?『バレンタインデー』
まずはKey Words & Phrasesから。
(Saint) Valentine’s Day（バレンタインデー）
tell one’s feeling（気持ちを伝える・告白する）
give a chocolate（チョコレートを贈る）
in return for（～に対するお礼として）
rest of the world（世界の他の国々・地域）
out of obligation（義務感から）
meet with mixed reactions（賛否両論を受ける）
as a side note（ちなみに・ついでに言うと）
Did you know that Valentine’s Day is rather different compared to the rest of the world?
・Every year on February 14th, Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world by exchanging flowers, cards and candies. Japan is no exception but people celebrate the day quite differently.
・In Japan, unlike in other countries, Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day when women give gifts to men to tell their feelings. Speaking of popular Valentine gifts in Japan, it is all about chocolate. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that some women give chocolates to their colleagues, friends and even to themselves.
・Besides, there is a day called “White Day” exactly a month after Valentine’s Day. White Day is exclusively for men to respond to the feelings that they received.
・Although the way of celebration differs, many people in Japan enjoy the day as much as people in other countries do.
3 Questions for Digging Deeper! 《 もっと掘り下げてみよう！ 》
How the tradition of giving chocolates on Valentine’s Day was formed in Japan?
Valentine’s Day was imported to Japan in the 1950s and it was popularized for commercial purposes. Several companies tried to utilize it to promote their products including cosmetic items, clothes and chocolates. In the 1970s, chocolate gained a great popularity during the period of rapid economic growth and has been celebrated ever since.
Isn’t it rather troublesome for women to give out chocolates to multiple people?
Actually, giving chocolates to colleagues, bosses or male friends is a bit controversial in recent years, as some women give chocolates to them out of obligation and find it stressful. A few years ago, one major chocolate company put an advertisement asking Japanese women to stop buying so-called giri-choco, or obligation chocolate. The advertisement was met with mixed reactions including counter opinions. So, probably it depends on the person if it is too much or not.
By the way, what exactly do people do on White Day?
White Day is a day when men are expected to give women back gifts in return for Valentine’s Day, and popular gifts include sweets, flowers and accessories. As a side note, White Day was started by a confectionery company in the 1980s. Even though White day is an unofficial event, it is accepted and enjoyed by many people in Japan.