Valentine's Day in Japan is quite unique. Unlike Valentine's Day in the United States, where men give gifts to women, women give gifts to men! It's completely the opposite! The custom of Valentine's Day in Japan started in the 1950's. Department stores began a Valentine's Day sale selling heart-shaped chocolates with signs which said "To men from women". Since then, numerous chocolate producing companies began selling more and more chocolates made especially as gifts for Valentine's Day.
It is not surprising to find an empty rack of chocolate bars at supermarkets on the days before Valentine's Day. That, of course, means that the day before Valentine's Day is a very busy day for women in Japan. There are two types of chocolates that Japanese girls and women give as a gift on Valentine's Day. One is "Giri-Choco" which means "Chocolate out of courtesy". This type of chocolate is given to men you treat as a friend. Usually, cookies or small chocolates are distributed to your usual friends, colleagues, bosses, etc.
The other type of chocolate is the important kind. It is called "Honmei-Choco" and is a chocolate gift given especially to the one you truly love. Women usually make chocolate cakes or an assortment of truffles and wrap them in beautifully decorated boxes. With the handmade "Honmei-Choco", some women show their appreciation for the ones they love, and some girls take their big step to tell their crush their true feelings! Valentine's Day can definitely be said to be one of the most exciting days for men, but a very nervous day for women in Japan! Ladies, it's almost the big day! Good luck!
White Day (March 14th) is a day that was created in Japan. It is a day to appreciate the women who gave their love (chocolates!) to you on Valentine's Day. There are numerous stories that explain the origin of White Day, but the truth is still unknown.
On this day, men show their thanks by giving gifts of cookies and candies they have bought to the women who gave them gifts on Valentine's Day. Unlike the United States, it is not as popular to give them roses. However, if I were a girl, it is always exciting to receive gifts from well-meaning men. Now, this custom has been popularized among Asian countries such as Korea and Taiwan; and they are enjoying White Day as well. Gentlemen, your secret admirer may be preparing for your gift now, so don't forget to show your appreciation on White Day!