Gentlemen, Are Your Ready For White Day?
More Of The Best And Worst Valentine’s Stories From Japan
While men in Japan are getting ready to give back on White Day this Saturday, they shared with us their unique Valentine's stories in Japan and dear... Oh, dear...
Last year I surveyed my male friends in Japan, both Japanese and not, and learned a lot about what they’ve gone through on February 14th. Some of the stories were heartwarming, others nearly fatal… And so, while we are anxiously waiting for our White Day treasures, I reached out to an even wider audience this year and collected more stories to share.
“My then-girlfriend and I decided to give each other gifts for Valentine’s. I already knew I’d be out of the country for White Day, so it made more sense to celebrate together. We did our shopping, I made reservations for dinner at a nice hotel (booked a suite too). Dinner was great, the wine and champagne were free-flowing. We got back to our room to exchange chocolates and both burst out laughing. We’d bought each other, from two different stores, the exact same chocolates. Identical boxes, wrapped identically. Great minds think alike.” (Matt, 34, American)
“A girl in my office had a crush on me. She was really obvious about it, and I was flattered. She knew I liked more Western-style desserts instead of chocolates. I heard from coworkers that she was baking something special for me, and felt excited to see what it might be. When Valentine’s arrived I got some giri choco from other coworkers, but nothing from her. Maybe she wanted to wait and give it to me in private. The workday ended and I hadn’t gotten anything. A different female coworker came to talk to me and I learned that the other woman had baked me brownies, but she was a novice chef and they weren’t cooked properly. They leaked something through the wrapping and all over her purse onto her clothing too (in her locker). She was too embarrassed to give them to me or to show her face in the office, said, my other coworker. I felt bad for her, but she avoided me after that so I couldn’t say anything.” (Kenji, 29, Japanese)
“I’m old-fashioned I guess—I like the idea of giving someone flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day, no matter what the culture is elsewhere. My girlfriend (now wife) and I compromised. She would make me a treat, and I would bring her flowers and a Western-style box of chocolates, and then we’d swap for White Day. Normally I would go for roses, but I left things late that year and ended up having to choose mostly other flowers to make up a bouquet. I chose several different kinds of daisies and some little white flowers for filler. It was really colorful and looked amazing when they finished wrapping it up. I take it home, tuck it aside, and we have dinner. I get my chocolate truffles, give her a box of Godiva, and then hold out the bouquet. She’d started being sniffle-y when I got home, but I figured it was just hayfever starting early. Then she gets all red-eyed and really choked up. Turns out she was allergic to the whole bouquet. I had to run to the pharmacy for allergy meds, bin the bouquet, and wipe down most of the house in alcohol wipes. Not the romantic plans we’d had in mind.” (John, 41, English)
“My birthday is on February 14th. I had just gotten a girlfriend in January and was excited about what my first Valentine’s/birthday with a serious girlfriend would mean. I dropped hints about being excited, and she seemed to have something planned. Day arrives and I got a card with a box of supermarket chocolates attached. Not wrapped or anything. I look at her obviously insulted, and she snapped ‘I was working what do you expect, it’s just Valentine’s Day’. Then, I remind her it’s also my birthday, and she tells me, no it’s not, my birthday is in June. I know my own birthday, right? So I got out my driver’s license and showed it to her, kind of rudely. She looked sick suddenly then started crying and stormed away. We were in public too, so a lot of people saw this happen. I found out later she was trying to date someone else but wanted me to break up with her so she wouldn’t look bad.” (Hiro, 33, Japanese)
The Perils Of Netflix And Chill
“My wife begged me to watch romcoms with her. She’s American and I’m Japanese. I agreed and we settled down to watch something, I don’t remember the name. All I know is that after two movies, suddenly she stopped cuddling me and she seemed to be crying. The movie wasn’t sad I thought (I read the subtitles) so I asked her what was wrong. Then I learned that I wasn’t romantic enough and should be more like the men in the movies. She cried and cried because I never won her a teddy bear, which was confusing because I tell her I love her every day. I told her I would buy her one if she would be happy? She seemed angry and went to take a shower. She went to bed without me. I ordered a teddy bear online and decided to buy her roses for the next day (the bear would arrive then too). I tried my best to present them to her like in a movie, but she cried again. She said she was crying because she was happy, and she loves the bear, but that was the last time I watched romance movies with her.” (Masa, 39, Japanese)
Oh La La… Wah Wah.
“Back when we were first dating, my wife and I would stay out all night together in love hotels. We couldn’t get enough of each other, and for Valentine’s Day, we planned this really exciting night. She bought something special to wear, I did too, and we brought some great, expensive alcohol with us. We had dinner at an izakaya beforehand and drank a lot… You can see where this is going. All our sexy plans had to be put on hold because I got too drunk to do anything. It was just not happening, no matter what she or I tried. It was still not really functional the next morning either. Our whole Valentine’s night was ruined.” (Taro, 35, Japanese)
“I consider my wife and I to be very practical people. We don’t say ‘I love you’ very often and aren’t very physically affectionate. We both work full time and have no children. Last year, she had a business trip to Singapore over Valentine’s. Normally, she would make me a nice dinner for Valentine’s Day, but it was not possible, obviously. I was a little letdown, but understand work is work. Valentine’s Day arrives, I work, the day is normal. I go home, find delivery for my wife in our mailbox, and am about to start heating my bento box when the doorbell rings. I open it, and there is a delivery man holding out a bag of Indian curry, rice, and samosas to me. He said it was an order for ‘Mayu’ and prepaid online. I take it and get my phone. Before I finish writing my text, she calls me on Skype and tells me to enjoy my dinner and to open my present. She surprised me for Valentine’s Day with my favorite curry and a box of sake chocolates. That was one of the most romantic things I’ve ever experienced.” (Masashi, 41, Japanese)
Got a strange, wacky, or downright adorable Valentine’s story to share? Write it in the comments down below!