Valentine´s Day in Japan is celebrated very differently from the Western world, with a very positive twist for men. When everywhere else men are expected to treat their girlfriends and wives with gifts and romantic dinners, in Japan it is women who are to give chocolates to those lucky men on St. Valentines Day!
Only women give chocolates on Valentine´s Day in Japan...
There are several theories about the origin of such curious reversed tradition and who first started it, but all are certain that it all began in 1950s with chocolate manufacturers trying to promote their products and introduce Western tradition of giving chocolates on Valentine´s Day. Some say it was a mistake in translation during "Westenization" of the holiday, others claim that women were encouraged to buy chocolates for their loved ones on purpose, as an opportunity for timid women of that time to express their feelings.
Like with almost everything else in Japan, there´re few rules that are to be followed when giving Valentine´s chocolates to men in order to avoid awkward misunderstandings. First of all, chocolates can be bought or home made and the home made chocolates are, of course, especially appreciated by the lucky receiver. However, women should always make clear what type of chocolates they give, as it will change the meaning behind the gift.
Men are usually very proud of the received gifts and often compete to collect the largest chocolate collections to enjoy...
There´re generally four types of chocolates a woman can give on Valentine´s Day. Honmei choco 本命チョコ are given to express love and usually are the most expensive and intricate. Giri choco 義理チョコ are usually for co-workers, teammates and classmates, as obligatory gift and can be a shared among all. Cho-Giri choco 超義理チョコ is an impresonal gift to acquaintances as a customary gesture. And recently, the modern women started a new, very nice tradition of giving chocolates also to each other on Valentine´s Day, which would be called then Tomo choco 友チョコ.
In return, women are also not left to be untreated. Exactly one month later, on March 14th, Japanese celebrate the "White Day" - when men are expected to reciprocate to the gifts received on Valentine´s Day and give their female companions rather much more expensive presents.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN JAPANESE NAMA 生チョコレート CHOCOLATES FOR ST. VALENTINE´S AT HOME
Nama Chocolate 生チョコレート - is like a heaven in your mouth! It is a really thick and creamy chocolate made of high-quality cacao and cream, dusted with cocoa powder and so rich in taste, that you would not want to eat anything else.
- 400 g of good quality dark chocolate (>70% cacao)
- 200 ml of rich cream (>35% fat)
- cocoa powder
- Chop the chocolate bars into small pieces with a knife, the smaller the better.
- Prepare a tray lined with baking paper. Chose the size accordingly to your preference for the height of the chocolates.
- Heat the cream almost to the boiling point, but be careful not to actually boil it!
- Add the chocolate pieces and stir until they melt into even mass. Be careful not to overheat and use only dry utensils, otherwise the chocolate might separate.
- Pour the mixture into the tray and smooth the surface.
- Let it cool in the fridge for 4-5 hours.
- Take out the chocolate from the tray and cut it into small squares with a warm knife (you could preheat it with hot running water and dry before making each cut).
- Sprinkle the squares with cocoa powder and enjoy!