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    Interesting Japanese Valentine Tidbits!

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Did you know that in Japan, February 14th~otherwise known as Valentine's Day~is a day for the women to celebrate the men? I was tickled, then perturbed, then back to being tickled about this fact since we tend to celebrate everyone, and not single out just the girls for Valentines.

    Don't get riled up, y'all, we gals have our day.

    February 14th is the day when the Japanese women (or girls) give chocolates and flowers out of love, courtesy, or social obligation. Ouch!

    When are we ladies celebrated, you may ask?

    March 14th.

    Known as White Day, one month after the men have their day and have received their honmei-choco (chocolate of love), the ladies are treated as Queens for a Day. The gifts for White Day are typically more expensive as it's the mans way of recognizing that the woman has chosen him as her "only one". The usual gifts include cookies, jewelry, white chocolate, and marshmallows.

    The general rule for these gifts is often thought of as such: sanbai gaeshi (or "thrice the return") is used to describe the generally recited rule that the return gift should be two to three times the cost of the Valentine's gift.

    This sounds kind of fun. Maybe we'll switch things up and do as the Japanese this year.

    Tomo-choco (chocolate for the woman's female friends) has recently become very popular. Giri-choco (obligatory chocolate) is very inexpensive given by women to their superiors at work as well as to other male co-workers. It is not unusual for a woman to buy 20 to 30 boxes of this type of chocolate for distribution around the office as well as to men that she has regular contact with. This differs from the honmei-choco as this type is far more superior, and why it is reserved for their prospective other.

    Does this mean I can expect Husband to return with a bounty of giri-choco this month? I'll let y'all know!

    So many interesting cultural differences surround St. Valentine's Day and each have raised questions for me. I cannot wait to see how the answers mysteriously unfold over the next week~and yes, you can be certain that I'll keep you up to date!

    If you want your own taste of celebrating like the Japanese, here's a delicious and fun recipe to celebrate anyone in your life. It's even fun for children!

    Courtesy of The Anime Blog, it offers many insights into the culture we're immersed in and some tips you might not otherwise find. Be sure to hop on over for some fun reading.


    Chocolate-Covered Cherry Daifuku



    1 1/2 cups mochiko (sweet rice flour)

    1/2 cup sugar

    1 1/2 cups water

    1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp corn syrup

    1 tsp. almond extract

    red food coloring

    potato, corn or wheat starch for dusting

    10 maraschino cherries, rinsed and patted dry

    1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    2 squares unsweetened chocolate, minced


    1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate on high in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture and return to microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Mix again. Repeat the steps until the chocolate is melted.

    2. Dip the cherries in the melted chocolate and coat them well. Drop them onto a plate lined with wax paper and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes.

    3. After the cherries have been in the freezer for 15 minutes, make the mochi by whisking together the mochiko, sugar, water, 1 Tbsp. corn syrup and extract. Remove 1/2 cup of the mochiko mixture and tint it a desired shade of red or pink with the food coloring. Set aside.

    4. Dust a clean work surface liberally with starch. Keep a bowl filled with starch handy for dusting your hands and any utensils used. Place the tsp. of corn syrup in a small bowl and keep it nearby.

    5. In a medium saucepan, cook the uncolored mochiko mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Spoon some of the cooked mochi onto the dusted work surface. With either a well dusted rolling pin or with well dusted hands, carefully roll or pat the hot mochi to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness, depending on your preference. Cut out circles two and half times as big as the chocolate cherries.

    6. Place a well chilled chocolate cherry in the center of each of the mochi circles. Quickly wrap the mochi circle around the cherry, pinching the bottom to seal it. If you’ve having problems smoothing or sealing the bottom, use a tiny bit of warm water to seal up the mochi. Place the finished mochi on plate dusted with starch. If the mochi cools too much when you’re working with it, heat it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

    7. For the hearts, repeat Step 5 with the pink mochi, but cut out hearts instead of circles.

    8. To decorate the mochi, you can:

    ~Attach the hearts to the finished mochi with a dab of corn syrup.

    ~Coat the finished mochi in the leftover chocolate.

    ~Wrap some cherries in pink mochi and make white hearts for contrast.

    ~Drizzle some chocolate over the finished mochi.

    ~Sprinkle colored sugar onto the warm mochi then form the balls.

    I don't know about y'all, but this sounds very similar to my mother's recipe for chocolate covered cherries. A little different, but the same idea. Is anyone else suddenly craving a delicious morsel of chocolate?

    I know I am...and speaking of delicious morsel...two more items from the birthday wish list!

    I am still not sure how it happened, but my fun go-to read~"What Would Jackie Do?"~did not make the sea voyage to Tokyo. Seriously...how did that happen? All of my favorite books made it safe and sound, but this one seems to have vanished into thin air.


    Maybe one of our packers wanted a little enlightenment from the former Ms. Bouvier? I don't know, but I do miss turning those well-worn pages. It was always a delight!

    Also a visual delight?


    I'm still loving Anthropologie's Latte Bowls in green. It's not a vivid green, but a mossy one and reminds me of the tall oaks from home and all the creeping moss along the trunks and branches. So very beautiful and practical!

    Friends, I hope you all enjoy your Superbowl Sunday. I'm off to figure out what's brought the Uyoku dantai out in full force! The police have set up barricades all along the main dori and it's eerily quiet despite their set-up.

    I'll be back soon.

    A lovely to day to you all!!

    3 Responses to “
    Interesting Japanese Valentine Tidbits!

    Katie@Yoga Gal said...

    Fascinating! I have learned something about Japan today. I would love to visit- although I hope that I would not come off like Karl from "An Idiot Abroad". :)

    Thank you for your lovely comment over at Yoga Gal, I appreciate it so much.

    I was just looking at those green bowls at Anthro this afternoon. :D

    Take care!

    Ruth said...

    I can't wait to see how Valentine's day goes in Tokyo. And White day

    The Southern Lady said...

    Katie~ Thank you for stopping by! I've enjoyed reading your blog and can only hope the feeling is reciprocated. Ahh! Great minds, yes? The green Anthro bowls must be ours. I say we go to our Hubby's together and demand the pretties for our home. Ha! And no worries...Japan is very Westernized, but part of the charm are the different aspects to their culture. If we didn't notice them, we'd never get the chance to appreciate them.

    Ruth~ Ditto, babe. I cannot wait to experience it!