Japanese go nuts for Valentine's Day. Ever ready to embrace the kitsch, the tacky, and the commercially exploitative, stores stock a multitude of Valentine-themed gifts and treats, and restaurants are booked out well in advance. In a rather unique spin-off, the women are supposed to approach the object of their desire and give a gift - usually chocolate. And, because this is Japan, you just wouldn't be shopping if there were not six thousand or so different chocolates, produced especially for the occasion, to choose from. Choices include your standard fare, plus flavours like wasabi horseradish, black pepper, and soy sauce.
In keeping with the ever reliable reporting and informative approach for which this blog is known, I read somewhere, oh, maybe not so long ago, that as much as one quarter of the total amount of confectionary consumed in Japan is on or for Valentine's Day. A hotel in Tokyo even has a Valentine's offer to cover a couple from head to toes in chocolate cream. Nice.
So, like I said, this country is crazy for February 14. Because of this, Japan is also the worst place in the world to be on Valentine's Day if you're single. And if all your single mates are in Australia. The only solution, I figured, was to buy myself a wee giftie. I'm not really one for chocolate, but a fine single malt? Oh, aye.
Tonight, I shall go home and have a wee dram or ten and wait for March 14, also known as White Day, when it's the men's turn to approach the objects of their desire. I wonder which will be more fun... not having anyone to give chocolates to? Or not receiving any? One must live through the horror twice.