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No matter where you’re from, Valentine’s Day still means the same

All the stores have been dyed in pink and waiting for today, St. Valentine’s Day. Even though Valentine’s Day is for both men and women, it seems like almost all of the decorations and gifts are for the women. Chocolates, teddy bears, flowers, cards, and pink… everything on the display are women’s favorite. Every time I go to Walmart or the mall, I stop in front of the Valentine section unconsciously. Then I wish I was getting something on Valentine’s Day. I guess women are always excited about getting something on Valentine’s Day from someone special. There are some countries where it’s the men’s hearts that are leaping up for Valentine’s Day. These are Korea and Japan. In these countries, Valentine’s Day is the day for women to show their love to the men. The women are usually too shy to express their love, though that might not be true nowadays, so it is a good opportunity to let women express their feelings with chocolates. Some women bake chocolate snacks for their love, others buy them. The only difference between Korea and Japan is the amount of chocolate. Korean women give tons of chocolates to men. I suppose how much chocolate you give him shows how much you love him. I think you can usually see the Korean men carrying a box from Gooch Hall on Valentine’s Day. Tons of chocolates are in it. His girlfriend, or someone who cares about him, sends the box of chocolates all the way from Korea. Ji-yoon Kim, a senior graphic design major, said “I spend over $90 for chocolates this year to send to my boyfriend in Korea”. On the other hand, Japanese women care more about quality than amount. They choose the chocolate based on how famous the company is, and how attractive the package is. Does it sound good to you? Do not get too excited when you get chocolates from Japanese girls! They might be “Giri-choko”, or obligation chocolate. Women give chocolates not only to their loved ones, but “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 favor, then you feel obligated to do something for that person. Every Valentine’s Day, I give “Giri-choko” to my father, grandfather, uncles, brother, friends, even teachers. While all of this may seem quite one-side, there is a day women receive a gift from men. 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 sweets or gift. For some reason or other, these return gifts seem to be priced slightly higher than those the women purchase. In Taiwan, Valentine’s Day and White Day is totally opposite from Korea and Japan. Men give the gift to women on Valentine’s Day, and women give a gift to men on White Day. If you could not get anything on Valentine’s Day, and could not receive any returns on White Day, there is a day for you. It is called “Black Day”. This is only a Korean custom. Unfortunately, those who could not get anything on the Valentine’s Day or White Day get together and eat “Jajagmyun” (black colored noodle) and console each other on April 14th, two months after the Valentine’s Day and one month after the White Day. Today, people all over the world celebrates St. Valentine’s Day in many ways. I hope the couples and friends get closer and reconfirm a good relationship through Valentine’s Day. I will send the chocolates to my friends and someone special in the Japanese way. I hope you have a Happy St. Valentine’s Day!!