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What do you think about the custom in Japan of women giving chocolates to their male co-workers on Valentine’s Day as a form of “obligation,” and then receiving chocolates back from the men on White D

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What do I think? I think it's an interesting take on a somewhat bizarre Western pseudo-holiday.

In the U.S., it's usually the guy giving the girl chocolates and flowers on (Saint) Valentine's Day. Little kids in school are encouraged to exchange Valentines cards regardless of gender.

When I first heard of Japan's method of celebration, my first thought was, "Well THAT'S different!" When I heard about the reciprocal "White Day" it seemed even more different. Add to those basics the differentiation between "co-worker chocolate" and chocolate for someone you really like and it starts to seem like a rule book should be published in order to make sure you don't break the rules. In March, the guys are stuck being obligated to give chocolate in return to anyone who gave them chocolate in February. Something tells me Nestlé, Mars, and Hershey had something to do with the establishment of this "tradition". :-)

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Delicious.

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I hate it. But it's much better than the yearly gift giving tradition we have at home. At home we spend a couple of months listening to the same monotonous music playing repeatedly on the radio everyday, while frantically shopping around buying obligatory presents for everyone that we know. Then we have to wrap them in paper, and smile at all the made in China junk we get given. Oh, I'm talking about Christmas!

At least Valentines/White day is a simple, we all just buy chocolates for each other.

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why is it split up is my question? I dont see any harm in having a valentines day, but it shouldnt be just once a year. Actually Japanese valentines day should be everyday heh.

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Stupid.

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We should thank the Merry Chocolate company of Japan that introduced this fine Japanese tradition in about 1950. Also, I've friends at different companies that have banned obligation chocolate from the offices. (Instigated by the older OLs, by the way, and agreed to by the rest.)

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I like it on Valentine's day.

Not so fond of it on White day - I work in an office with about a dozen women. Gets expensive. ... to be perfectly honest though, when I cut through the cynicism, I don't mind at all. Every one of them has gone out of their way to help me with something at one time or another - can't think of anyone that doesn't deserve a little present in return.

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Emancipation should not be just one set of individuals getting and not giving.

I like the formalized ritual giving. A good practice on give and take.

Besides, if you really like someone, this is a great excuse. Would there be a better chance to be a secret admirer and possibly get away with it? Possibly? :)

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Same topic as last year !!!!! March 14th is a marketing skim

I think it's great - At the office Good Icebreaker - Especially working with Japanese women. Everytime I go abroad/or visiting my home in America. I always bring souvenirs for my co workers. Japanese women who are over 38 it's really hard to become friends ( co worker relationship ). But if you give them a chocolate they start to smile and melt down the layers of ice that is on them.

For anti-social 20 year olds and teenagers it's a great way to express your love to your friends,family and etc. Hopefully they can get a date out of it or be alittle bit closer to whom they love.

I wouldn't coin the term Obligation because it sounds like sexual harassment for me. I've worked for japanese companies for 6 years and I have never seen a woman or man exchange chocolate if they didn't like each other. Or if they did not want to !!!

There are no rules that " you have to " exchange chocolate.

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it's not an obligation in the area i live in. I think they are mistaking the obligation part with the souvenir tradition.

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I wish both sides just exchanged chocolates on the same day--the stuff that's available around Valentine's day is much nicer than what's available on White Day, and some guys just 'forget' to buy white day chocolates, but woe be unto the woman who forgets to give them anything.

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It's fun, but would be better as one holiday only.

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Hmmm...as a chocolate lover. I love getting chocolates from anybody! Especially in Japan they have a huge and diverse and also pretty creative assortment of chocolates that put most countries to shame. Having said that, I do hate how they have the whole Valentine's day custom totally messed up. Sad to see so many women scrambling to buy hordes of chocolates for their co-workers and then the men don't do anything to make up....oh...wait, they have White day! WTH is that??? This holiday is kind of like, *"yes, you give me chocolates that I deserve, therefore, on this day, I will give you something in return so not to make you feel bad"

This whole pressure in pushing sales and obligation to people you don't even know is quite sad and pathetic.
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Irritating at best.

I would never give chocolates to random people I happen to work with, what kind of stupid waste of money would that be? Thankfully there's no such silly custom in Britain.

I only give Valentine's chocolate and gifts to my hubby, but me and the younger kids end up eating all the leftover melted chocolate plus any misshapen ones, and my hubby ends up with the few that ended up looking good. Making Valentine's treats is a good way to have fun and put on a few extra pounds.

Obligation shouldn't even begin to enter into the situation. It's just an altered form of a western pig-out after all, no big deal. Pretty much like Christmas.

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the good old 'giddi' choco. Personally i think it is pointless. Office staff handing out giddi chocos to everyone within sight just because she feels she 'has to'.

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It's just smart promotion by companies to get into our wallets. Now there are women giving women chocolates. They try to expand it to different avenues to make more money. If someone on TV or in the movies thinks it's cool, and it's pummeled into your head enough, then a lot of us drones usually follow. Remember, you're not hip or cool unless you're in the "in" crowd. How many chocolates you get directly correlates to how cool you are or how much the girls/guys dig you. I hate these phony holidays but go along because I want to reciprocate when I receive something but I'm actually much closer to being Ebeneezer Scrooge than Prince Charming. I think the word is 'giri' not 'giddi.'

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My wife likes it because I give her all the choco I get and then I have to buy all the white day chocos, too. :(

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Its corporate scam point blank!

When I first landed here & worked in a J-office the women hated it & the guys often forgot in March, then the ladies got smarter & pooled funds to buy the dudes something cheaper, by the time I left it had pretty much stopped to everyones relief.

But they all liked it on a personal level, ie giving to husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends.

Its just a scam, hell when I arrived Halloween didnt exist, but it does now, just corporate greed with little feeling involved

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Not a fan of it personally, but I see how it fits Japanese culture. "Romance" is not a well-developed concept here, so respect/obligation as reasons for giving chocolate are much better accepted. Plus, as others have pointed out, it is a good way for women to possibly break the ice with the terribly socially-handicapped men this society is increasingly producing. But, I just wish the stores/companies would at least take the time to spell it correctly. Saw a big poster in a store on Monday saying St. Valentin's (No "E").

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It is a wonderful tradition because it is Japan's tradition. Halloween and Christmas in Japan are copies of American traditions even for Japanese Christians. Japan needs to protect its traditons, even throwing beans this month, so that it will be different. The American concept of "a melting pot" isn't really true in the USA. Japan needs to teach and encourage people to celebrate its culture.

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noriyosan -- HUH? How does changing Valentine's Day make it "Japan's tradition"? Was there a St. Valentine somewhere in the history of Japan that I am not aware of? Second, walk down any main street in any major city in the states and tell me America is not a "melting pot". What an ignorent comment, that is 100% off topic.

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Office staff handing out giddi chocos to everyone within sight just because she feels she 'has to'.

First, its "giri". Maybe she is handing out giri choko because it makes her feel good. Ever think that some people feel warm inside when they give a gift? Its not an oblogation and they are not forced to give to everybody.

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Opps my mistakes...it is giri. But after eating too much i guess you could feel a little giddi!!!

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When I first landed here & worked in a J-office the women hated it & the guys often forgot in March, then the ladies got smarter & pooled funds to buy the dudes something cheaper, by the time I left it had pretty much stopped to everyones relief.

In my office we're still in the first stage, moving towards the second. I can't wait for the third.

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It is a wonderful tradition because it is Japan's tradition. Halloween and Christmas in Japan are copies of American traditions even for Japanese Christians.

Valentine's Day is no more Japanese than Christmas or Halloween. And since Christianity in Japan predates the existence of America, your comment about Japanese Christians is inaccurate and rather insulting.

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As some others have already mentioned, purely a marketing ploy.

Our office (approx. 40 men, 10 women) has abolished this stupid tradition 3 years ago.

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Noriyosan73: How is Valentine's Day/White Day in Japan different from Christmas and Halloween in Japan? They're all very inaccurately copied Western/American traditions.

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I actually really like the idea...it is quite romantic if you forget about the girri choco. This is a chance for a women to quietly send a sign to a guy that she is interested. (Of course, that doesn't work if she's handing them out to everyone) After that, she has a month to maybe make more of an effort to talk to her interest. And if the guy is feeling it, he can return give chocolate to signal a start of something. Guys are usually expected to take control of dating situations, but this is one time of the year a woman can make the first move and not feel like she is breaking a social norm.

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I still give Valentine's Chocolates to the ladies since I'm americam. But it's embarassing to buy chocolates for them during this time. It kinda looks like I'm buying them for myself to brag about how many I received during that day.

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I like the idea, it takes away the tedium of every day boring office life. Why don't you make the chocolates and cookies yourself, it will be cheaper and get more appreciation.

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Women should give chocolate to guys at least once a week.

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Pure Japanese marketing that has become a national tradition. Other mutated version of western culture. Who cares if I get chocos from various females at work, do they all what to date me....no....just obligation and false hope. Japanese vendors sing money, money, money on both V-day and W-day

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I like receiving Japanese chocolate because it tastes so much better than North American or European chocolate which is all waay too sweet. And I love giving it the following month because it makes people happy.

One of the main goals of our existence is to serve, and to make people happy. If we can do this with chocolate, why not?

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I LOVE it - free food? Free candy? It's great. I especially love the anonymous gifts - not because of the mystery, but because I'm a cheapskate and don't have to reciprocate. And by the way - WHY are women giving me VD candy when they all KNOW I'm married? Shameless.

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@seaforte03

WHY are women giving me VD...?

Unfortunate choice of abbreviation!

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I like this tradition, it fun...but, if you have bf-gf/marry, jealous partner can be mad of it, and it a bit sad when someone didn't get any when all others get some. And it not fun if someone hope to something from it. But as tradition for eat yummy food and special date for cook some sweets, why not? It's fun!

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I don't think anything about it Do adults do this too?

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jeezuz...that's...la(me)zy

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Doesn't Ishiya think this is a great custom? Lets ask them instead.

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Wait, wait...what do you mean by "obligation"? No one is obliged to give chocolates to anybody. Now, i assume that it depends on the company and on the working environment. If you work for example in an office with 6-7 people, its not that bad to give chocolates as a sign of friendship. However, if your working environment includes more than 10 employees then it starts to get problematic.

Again though, i didn't know that it is "obliged"...

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Another swindle to pressure us into letting the department stores rob us with over-priced chocolates. Personally, I`d prefer a food massage and a kiss on the cheek!

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So do we absolutely NEED to give chocolate? Can I be a romantic and hand out, say, roses to every woman on White Day (disregarding the jealousies that might arise from my different gifting method)?

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Jason, I think white day is meant to give something in RETURN if someone did give you a valentine chocolate/gift. As for the gift being a rose, um, definitely jealousy.

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Women and men should give each other gifts now and then to celebrate each other's existence and practise cute/romantic communication. Certainly a commercial motive behind the Japanese version but the ultimate results are worth it.

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I think it's great until 'White day' when I have to give something back!!!

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For 3yrs running now it will be 'Black Day(4th/Apr)' for me when I and some friends will have some ramen together

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(14th/Apr).

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Looking back at the days, when there were advertisments running like "Today I smoke" ...I think giving and receiving chocolates may be an improvement.

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I have a couple of sisters-in-law who work for Japanese firms and they tell me that it is an "obligation" to give chocolate to their managers and bosses. Its not in the company handbook but you get on the "S**t list" if you don't and passed over for promotion. That's just wrong!

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It's great for the chocolate makers.

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True meaning of Valentine Day has been lost in Japan.

Here in the States, kidergarden kids bringing chocolate in little bags to friends, teachers, mom making valentine face pancakes for kids on Valentine day morning, family getting together for dinner and workers going to office wearing something in red reminding that EVERYONE IS LOVED.

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I'd solve the "obligation chocolate" problem with a bag of Hershey Miniatures. However many bosses I had to give to would be divided into the bag of miniatures. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am/sir. I think it's harder on guys, though. They have to remember who they got chocolate from the month before and reciprocate in kind. A popular guy would have a LOT of recordkeeping to do. :-)

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Its gay!!! The whole scam was invented by the Candy Companies in Japan back in the late 70's, early 80's ...to double their annual chocolate sales each year. Japanese Oyagi's in the past would give their office ladies packaged candies on White Day that included ladies underwear. And I guessed they would spend the remaider of the year wondering if the lady was wearing the garments they purchased. C-R-E-E-P-Y.

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It's stupid. I think all businesses would probably benefit from positioning VD as a day of love, appreciation and friendship like it's done in other countries. Where I'm from VD is on the biggest revenue generating days, probably 2nd or 3rd to Xmas. having to give chocolate to members of the opposite sex is just lame. I make it a point of telling my staff not to waste their money on chocolate and organize a VD lunch/dinner for everybody instead.

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