I forgot to tell you about Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day in Japan is AWESOME. Instead of sappy cards and chalky candies, J-V-Day is all about chocolate. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, strawberry chocolate. Chocolate hearts, chocolate cookies, chocolate muffins, chocolate truffles, chocolate cake. The possibilities are delicious. Most of the chocolate is homemade, and the wrappings are as beautiful as the chocolate is tasty.
This year, my friend Mizuki invited me to her house for a chocolate-making party. Other guests included two of Mizuki’s cousins, one 20-something and the other finishing up second grade. Her college-age brother was also about, but not making any chocolate of his own. In Japan, Valentine’s Day gifting is the sole responsibility of the womenfolk. Men return the favor a month later, on March 14th, by giving their lady-friends gifts on a holiday called White Day.