Valentine’s Day, or as I like to call it, VD (if you’re laughing at that I bet you also had to watch Captain Condom in high school sex ed,) is probably the worse day to be a foreign woman living in Japan. Somehow a holiday where I am supposed to get chocolate and possibly jewelry gets turned into a big giri choco (expected giving of chocolate to male counterparts and superiors) mess.

It’s like some big honcho from the old boy’s club decided to take this day of celebrating love and martyred, albeit possibly fictitious, saints and use it to put women in their place. I mean, geez, don’t the Old Boy’s do that every day anyway? Why do they need to eat the chocolate, too?

Okay, in all fairness VD here is also a day for the girls to kokuhaku, or confess their love, to whoever one happens to be crushing on come mid February. Maybe that would be empowering… if it weren’t always portrayed on TV commercials as involving homemade cupcakes and frilly aprons.

I’m struggling with this one. (In case you didn’t notice.) Me First’s preschool had a “no valentine” policy, for whatever reason. So this is the first year he’s been aware of it. He’s been wandering about, starry-eyed, for days wondering if he’ll get any chocolate. He asked me about Valentine’s Day in America. I told him a little bit about the origins, and about what we did when I was his age. (Every year Dad bought a small heart-shaped box of chocolate for my sister and I, a bigger box for my Mom, and a bag of Doritos for my brother. When I was older, there were years I got flowers or balloons. One year in particular I got this big bouquet with balloons and stuff from a boy I didn’t like very much. The worst part was that I had to carry this heavy thing on my walk home from school, resenting him more and more with each step. Gentlemen, if you buy a big heavy flowers-in-vase thing, do remember to offer the recipient a ride home.) I wrote the story in the last post so the kids could hear about what we do for Valentine’s Day at school in the US.

Since Brother is excited about the prospect of chocolate, of course Sister is, too. But she won’t get any. Because of this backwards bullish!t.

I just came out and told her. No point in trying to gloss over the obvious injustice. Then I tried to comfort her by telling her about girl’s day, when we’ll make pizza instead of sushi and eat cute cupcakes decorated like the princesses of the imperial households of old. But that is like three weeks away. She wants chocolate, NOW

Like that lady with the buzz cut and bra top, I want to just jump through a giant picture of my post-pregnancy fat self and yell, Stop the Insanity!! with two exclamation points. Because there’s chocolate involved.

This year, I’ve decided against doing the giri choco thing. So POS BIL and FIL can’t count on me for chocolate. I’m buying for Me Too instead. We went today to pick out something for the boys. Brother is getting chocolate shaped like a poodle and Daddy is getting a plastic bat full of baseball shaped chocolates. Because that is what she chose. She is getting a frilly pink box with a paper rose on the front because that is what I chose.

And THAT is how we fight the Old Boy’s Club in the Hama, one mouthful at a time.



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Beth
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 13:17:55

    Finished up the cards for my daughter’s preschool class yesterday. Due to childhood memories of feeling ashamed at Valentine’s day because my mom only bought the plain cards, we got cards that came with temporary tattoos and also got mini M&M’s to stick to the cards. Tomorrow is going to be a sugar high day! Hope your Hama VD day is awesome.


  2. Ruth
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 15:58:35

    Hi, saw your post over at WMB and so here I am, exploring your blog :) I tried posting a comment there but somehow it just won’t go through, saying it’s a duplicate comment but my comment never appeared :( Anyway, just wanted to say I was really enthralled by your well crafted article, so impressed by your writing! Your post also got me thinking about what traditional games I hope to pass on to my boy. He’s still little now but it’s good to start thinking :) Happy Valentine’s Day!


  3. Jen
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 14:19:54

    I hate the sexist bullshit too. I do giri choco at work because someone once told me nine months later that he was upset I didn’t give it to him. I do have to work with that entitled dumbass.

    I also make my son and daughter exchange chocolate. And cards. I’m a hardass.


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