Today is Valentine's day around the world, and while the western world shares a majority of similarities with how it is celebrated, Japan is slightly different in execution. While the holiday shares the same date, and theme of expression of love, the way that is done, and who does that expression is distinctly Japanese in essence. Rather than the use of expensive gifts, or other such gifts usually given (though those gifts can be used) chocolate is mainly the gift of choice. In Japan, Valentine's day is a traditionally for females to express their love, since historically, Japanese women had a harder time expressing their love for the man in their life (obviously is not the case for every female today) However, if you are in Japan, and receive a gift of chocolate, be aware, that it might not be a confession of love.
There are two different types of chocolate that a man can receive, that of honmei-choko (true love chocolate) and giri-choko (obligation chocolate) Honmei-choko is self explanatory, it is what one receives when she wishes to express her love to you in a courting manner, or are already in a relationship. Giri-choko is what one gives to males in the workplace, (bosses, co-workers) male friends, or those she knows she has no romantic attachment to. Do not feel as though this is an insult, or something they do without consideration, Giri is an interesting concept that is a distinctly Japanese concept. Obligation in Japanese terms is something that is important to the culture as a whole, it has permeated various aspects of their culture, historical, and popular. With that said, just because that there is no romantic feelings with giri-choko doesn't mean that the obligation inherent to the giving of the chocolate doesn't mean that they do not have any feelings of friendship they may have towards you. Japanese culture is heavily based upon context so as long as you remain cognizant of those facts, and the person who is giving you the giri-choko hurt feelings should be at a minimum wherever possible. There is another holiday that is in a month that I will talk about when it comes, White Day on March 14th. Until then, take care!
( ´•౪•`) こゆうきあいはら ( ´•౪•`)