Happy (Or Not) White Day!
March 13, 2020
How will you celebrate your Valentine’s return?
White Day, celebrated on March 14th, is the purely commercial sister holiday to Valentine’s Day, and spawned similar celebrations in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and China. Not only that, but April 14th has become Black Day (for singles) in South Korea because of it.
On White Day men that were given chocolates, especially honmei choco (本命チョコ) or genuine chocolates, on Valentine’s Day give back gifts to those special ladies or gentlemen in their lives. Basically, if you gave anyone any chocolates on Valentine’s Day, you can probably expect something back on White Day.
That being said, sometimes what you get in return is not exactly what you might have built it up to be in your mind. Two years ago, I talked to foreign and Japanese women about their White Day celebrations and heard some pretty hilarious and horrifying stories—and this year I reached out to even more women!
As a side note, when I was collecting these, I heard from fifteen different women that the men they’d given honmei choco to for Valentine’s Day ended up ghosting them online, or ignoring them in person on White Day. I’m not saying you have to go and buy them a gift if you’re not feeling the connection—but ghosting/ignoring someone is not cool. That goes for men and women alike.
Okay, rant over. On to the stories!
“Ex-Bf decided he wanted to go all out for White Day. He had this thing about Tokyo Disney like it was THE most romantic place in the entire world, and he was obsessed with visiting during all their special events. I like Disney well enough, but I’m not big into the whole princess thing. He booked a suite at one of their hotels, flower petals on the bed, toy crowns for us because I’m his princess (that part was cute, I admit), and just all this over the top, ‘is this really happening?’ behavior that wasn’t him and certainly wasn’t what I wanted either. I must not have been playing along properly because when we got back to Tokyo, he flipped out at me. We broke up in the station, but he kept sending me rude LINE messages until I finally had to change my account.” (Jean, 27, American)
“I’m Japanese, my boyfriend at the time was American. We both work, so we decided to go out the weekend before actual White Day. We went to Ginza and he said we could look in this jewelry store that was having a sale. He told me to pick out anything I wanted, which took me back. He doesn’t make that much money, so I asked him if he was serious. He said yes, so I picked out a pair of earrings. They were silver and cost ¥3000, because of the sale. Not ¥30,000, ¥3000. I double-checked before I showed him what I wanted. He gave me a dirty look and asked if I was serious, which surprised me. He walked out of the store, I followed him, and in the street, he asked me what my problem was, and said I was being a bitch for asking for something that expensive. I told him the price was only ¥3000, and he said that was too much, and I didn’t deserve that for ‘stupid chocolates.’ I got angry and left him in Ginza, and broke up with him over a text message. If ¥3000 was too much, why did he even offer anything in the first place? Especially in Ginza! Can you imagine what he would have said if I’d asked for something more expensive? Unbelievable!” (Nana, 40, Japanese)
“My half boyfriend was extra thankful for his Valentine’s Day gift. We got drunk, got down, and woke up with severe hangovers, the both of us. Then when White Day was approaching, I realized I hadn’t gotten my period for a while, took a (actually 3) test and bam, I was pregnant. Luckily my boyfriend was okay with this, and we were already talking about marriage, so we just had to speed up our plans a little. Baby is now four and about to become a big sister, too.” (Maya, 31, Asian-American)
“I had been seeing a Japanese guy for two years when he decided to dump me after Valentine’s and hook up with his coworker instead. I was angry, hurt, and seriously not ready to be alone. So I went to a bar-restaurant on White Day, sat at the counter, and drank and talked up the bartender all night. We flirted pretty heavily, and when it was time to close, I took him home with me. A good night was had by all.” (Jen, 25, American)
“I broke my arm the day before White Day, so instead of going to a fancy restaurant or whatever my J-boyfriend (now husband) had planned, he stayed home all day, cooked for me, and helped me take a bath. He washed my hair and everything. He’d never done anything like that before, so seeing him taking care of me showed me a new side of him.” (Amber, 34, Canadian)
“Instead of chocolates and cookies for Valentine’s and White Day, we decided to take a road trip together. He rented a car and I booked a hot spring hotel stay. Something must have gone wrong and I didn’t notice because when we arrived at the hotel, they didn’t have a room for us. No vacancies either in a room that we could afford. We found a cheap love hotel off the highway and had food from Family Mart for dinner instead of the full course Japanese meal we’d pictured. It wasn’t the luxury gift sort of vacation we’d planned on, but it was still romantic.” (Sara, 29, British)
“My wife and I do something special for each other for Valentine’s Day and White Day. Valentine’s is usually food-related, and White Day is gifts or an activity. Unfortunately, we were both sick on Valentine’s, so we didn’t celebrate it at all. I felt bad because we didn’t have a wedding either, and I wanted to make her feel happy. I think I am an okay cook, so I found recipes that I thought I could do and, without telling my wife, I took White Day off work. I went grocery shopping, cleaned our apartment, and cooked a nice dinner. She came home from work and was shocked to see me. I was shocked because she had a bouquet of roses in hand—for me! I think it was one of our happiest White Day’s yet.” (Shou, 43, Japanese)
And An Update!
If you read the worst and best White Day stories article from two years ago, you might remember this story:
“White Day. That’s the day my boyfriend was declared cancer-free and, a year later, the day we got married in Hawaii. Being Pi Day, we always celebrate with a pie of some kind, too, just to bring everything together.” (Mayu, 32, Japanese-American)
Mayu sent me a message recently and let me know that her husband is still cancer-free, and that, despite some fertility issues, they are expecting a baby boy any day now! He could even be a White Day baby, knowing this couple.