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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sad and lonely Valentine's Day (again)

Possibly partly my chocolate

In Japan, Valentine's Day is huge. It is also a bit backwards compared to Western countries. Women are obliged to give chocolate to all male co-workers. This is called "giri-choco", from "duty" (giri) and "chocolate", since they are duty bound to distribute this chocolate. Home made cookies are also OK.

Women can also give chocolate to men they are interested in, to indicate that "I like you".

If you receive chocolate, you are obliged to return the favor on "White Day", March 14. You are also supposed to return a gift at least three times as expensive as what you got. For giri-choco you have a giri to return the gift. For "I like you" chocolate, returning something means "I like you too", I am told.

The Valentine exhibits in stores around town are bigger than the Christmas exhibits in December, so this is a huge thing. Every year, and this year was no exception, well meaning Japanese try to explain this culture to me. They also always tell me: "As a foreigner, you will get huge amounts of chocolate from all the women around you, since Japanese women are fascinated with foreigners".

Every year, I end up getting very little or no chocolate at all. This year was the worst so far, with no chocolate at all received. There was a small plate of chocolate on the desk of one of my colleagues, and when he was not there, the rest of us figured "this is probably for everyone, right?" and dug in. So I did have some chocolate but it was more like "stealing" than "receiving a gift".

Not my chocolate

One of my magician friends had lots of customers dropping by our magic bar just to give him chocolate. He got too much, so he let me eat some of his chocolate.


  1. Det där kändes ju väldigt tragiskt och sorgligt!! :-/

    1. Jag är van, så det är ingen fara. Men det är ju egentligen ännu mer tragist och sorgligt :-)

    2. Och så sparar man ju in en massa pengar på att inte behöva ösa ut choklad o.dyl. på White Day också. Think positive!