Sunday, February 14, 2010

Can't buy me love

Today is Valentine's Day. In Japan, go into any supermarket at this time of year and you will find a large section filled with all sorts of chocolate gifts. But Valentine's Day here is different. It's a day for the ladies to give to the men. This may include gifts to work colleagues which get the name 'giri choco', a chocolate you give out of obligation rather than love. But the men get their turn too. They give back to the ladies a month later on 14th March which is called White Day, a traditon started in Japan in 1978. It's an important part of Japanese culture to give back when you have received from someone else. The White Day tradition spread to Korea too (actually they also have Black Day and Yellow Day but that's another story). All this chocolate buying and giving must be great for the chocolate makers. However, recently there has been another twist to the tale of chocolate-giving with the advent of the 'tomo choco'. The word 'tomo' means friend and a 'tomo choco' is chocolate that the ladies give to ladies rather than spending money on 'giri choco' for the men. It's just chocolate but maybe it's a significant statement that people want to emphasise friendship rather than just get caught in the vicious circle of obligation and giving back. In an age when many in this land are lonely and even cut themselves off from others, how good it would be if many could find their way to Jesus who calls his followers his friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment