Well, here we are, Valentine’s day, the day when our thoughts turn to love, or the possibility of love. If you have a precious loved one by all means enjoy the day with him or her, and if you don’t have a beloved, go find one, quickly.
In Japan, Korea, and Taiwan they celebrate Valentine’s day differently from how we observe the day here in the west. For those fans new to anime and Japanese culture, on Valentine’s day only the girls give choko (chocolate) to the boys/men. There are three types of choko gifts that the girls usually give, guri, tomo, and honmei. The first type is know as guri-choko (duty or obligation choko) and this type of choko doesn’t have to be handmade and it can be the generic store bought type, this type of Choko is given to almost all male coworkers and so forth.
The second type of choko that girls can give is called tomo-choko (friendship choko), this type of gift is usually given between girlfriends, but can be given to close male friends.
The last type of Valentine’s gift is called honmei-choko (loved one or favored choko), the girls give this type of choko to their boyfriends, or guys they want to make their boyfriends, and this type of gift is usually handmade or very fancy store bought.
If you think that this stops after high school you would be wrong because in the work environment this practice is viewed as an office popularity poll where the ladies can send messages to the men about how they feel they are being treated. If a man is considered an asshole he is given no gifts or very cheap gifts, sending a message to treat the women better. On the other hand, if a man is popular he is given fairly nice gifts by the OL (office ladies). Some women like to play games with men they don’t really like by giving a gift to the man that could be considered either a Guri-choko or a Honmei-choko, confusing the man as to her intentions.
Now you might asks what does the girl/woman get out of this? Well, thirty days later the boys/men must return the favor to the girls/women. This is called white day, because in the past, the return gift was usually marshmallows or white choko. Nowadays, boys/men can give any type of choko or cake in return. But, be advised, if you received a Honmei-choko gift and you want to say you’re interested in her, the return gift will be of equal or greater value, like 2-3x more costly. Now do you see why a lady might play games with a guy they don’t like, the return gift will hit him in the wallet.
Now, if I lived in anime land, I would like to recieve honmei-choko from the following girls/women; Yui from K-On!, Kureha from Sora no Woto, Taiga from Toradora!, Kuroko from Railgun, and Beatrice from Umineko.
Picking what girls I would like to get candy from was the easy part. So, now I’ll switch roles and decide what guys I would give choko to if I was a girl, and my choices are Ryuu from Kimi ni Todoke & Kanon from Umineko.
So, who would like to get honmei-choko from, and who would you give your honmei-choko?