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In Japan, it is only the women who give presents (mainly chocolates) to men. Japanese women are usually too shy to express their love. Therefore, Valentine’s Day was thought to be a great opportunity to let women express their feelings.

Men are supposed to return gifts to women on a day called “White Day” (March 14th), a Japanese creation.

Although do not get too excited when you get chocolates from Japanese girls! They might be “Giri-choko (obligation chocolate).” Women give chocolates not only to their loved ones (“A true love” chocolate is called “Honmei-choko.”) “Giri-choko” is the chocolate given to men such as bosses, colleagues or male friends that women have no romantic interest in, just for friendship or gratitude. The concept of “giri” is very Japanese. It is a mutual obligation that the Japanese follow when dealing with other people. If someone does you a favour, then you feel obligated to do something for that person.

Unlike the West, sending a Valentine’s cards is not common in Japan, and the phrase “Happy Valentines” is not widely used. “Happy Birthday” and “Happy New Year” are common phrases. In this case, “Happy ~” is translated as “~ omedetou ????????.”