What a week…it was a good one…it was a fast one…and now I have to come back to earth. The missionaries who served here before us were visiting. It was wonderful to have another American Christian to talk to. We had a great time of fellowship. The family dinner went well. My son cooked on the grill so that took some pressure off of me. The special dinner on Sunday was a success and the Ladies’ Bible study was a blessing with 2 ladies present who haven’t attended for a while. Now I have to get back to homeschool with my folders stuffed of papers to grade, mountains of laundry to fold, Japanese homework to do and a kanji test to study for.
I am on a mailing list of a missionary that serves in Canada. She wrote a wonderful, thought-provoking entry yesterday. An Apple a Day? will make you think and brighten your day. Please click over for a visit.
I also wanted to share the following article with you about Valentine’s Day in Japan. It is very different but it shows an aspect of their culture. There is no such thing as a free gift. You cannot do anything for someone without them returning the favor. In fact, you can collect a favor if you choose!
By: Billy Hammond
These gifts of chocolate are divided into two types: giri choco (obligatory chocolate) and honmei choco (chocolate for the man the woman is serious about). Giri choco is given by women to their superiors at work as well as to other male co-workers. It is not unusual for a woman to buy 20 to 30 boxes of this type of chocolate for distribution around the office as well as to men that she has regular contact with.
Needless to say, the approach of Valentine’s Day is something that department stores and shops look forward to and promote with zeal because of its potential for increased sales. Large displays featuring chocolate usually with heart-shaped displays start to grace the floors of department stores from mid-January or so.
A woman will normally purchase boxes of giri choco in the several hundred yen range and may purchase an expensive box of honmei choco and another gift such as a necktie for her “special someone”. While all of this may seem quite one-sided, confectioners in Japan – never ones to miss an opportunity to sell more – took advantage of the Japanese feelings of obligation and created “White Day” in 1980 to help assuage the guilt feelings of those poor obligated males who received chocolate on Valentine’s Day. On March 14th, exactly one month after Valentine’s Day, men who were lucky enough to receive gifts of chocolate have the chance to return the favor by giving the women who gave them gifts of chocolate a more expensive box of chocolate or sweets (for some reason or other, these return gifts seem to be priced slightly higher than those the women purchase). Again, the stores provide plenty of reminders of the approach of this day so that even the most forgetful man cannot say that it slipped his mind. The gifts of chocolate that men buy are in white boxes (after all, it is “White Day”) and come with separate shopping bags to put them in.