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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Japan: White Day

Last month, I talked about Valentine's Day in Japan, and left off with a mention of White Day.

On March 14, a month after Valentine's Day, men who received chocolate or gifts on Valentine's Day return the favor. Most of the gifts are white; either white chocolate, white clothes such as lingerie, cookies, or jewelry, and so on. Marshmallows are also an acceptable gift.

The holiday started in 1978, by the National Confectionary Industry Association, on the basis that men should pay back the women who gave them honmei- or giri-choco. But there is a slight caveat: the gifts men give should be two or three times the cost of the Valentine's gift they received. That general rule is called sanbai gaeshi, meaning "triple the return."

Like Valentine's Day; romantic movies, candlelight dinners, and romantic getaways are not the norm. While there are Valentine's and White Day cards, they are nothing like the Hallmark cards in America.

On a personal note, I don't celebrate White Day. My wife Yoko likes the American version of Valentine's Day, so we exchange chocolate and go out to dinner on February 14.

As always, thanks for reading.

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