Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and girls in Japan are hurrying to get everything ready! The holiday is quite different here, as February 14th is a day when only the girls do the giving. Stores are packed with a variety of “make your own (insert treat name here)” sets, and adorably designed boxes of chocolate. I have to admit, there are some pretty awesome looking sets, and I love the “dig-up” chocolate, where you get to be a paleontologist and dig up some yummy chocolate dinosaur bones!
One of the biggest differences between Valentine’s in Japan and in Canada is that only girls are expected to be giving out gifts. Many girls, especially teenagers, celebrate by exchanging goodies with their friends, and the braver girls just might something to that boy they have their eye on.
There are two major variations of chocolate given to men, each with their own meaning. There’s 本命チョコ (honmei choco), which is usually higher in quality, and is meant for those to whom you wish to express your true, romantic feelings to, and 義理チョコ (giri choco), which is “obligation chocolate”, and for guys that you’re just not that into – like your classmates, or coworkers.
Boys aren’t expected to do a thing, but that doesn’t mean they’re off the hook! March 14th is “White Day”, and that’s when the men have to give back. Any guy who received something on Valentine’s Day is expected to return the favour on White Day.
When you’re an English teacher, you’ll find that including cultural events such as Christmas or Halloween, into your curriculum goes a long way with students, and their parents. Last year for my Mommy and Me classes, I printed out cute little Valentine’s Day cards for the kids. It’s not done in Japan, but I loved it as a kid when we all set up our little Valentine’s Day post office and you got a cubby filled with colourful cards.
The cards went over well last year so I decided that I would do them again! I wanted to use a different set, because some of the students are in the class for a couple of years. I know that they don’t realise if they’re the same, but the parents often do. I searched for printable valentines on Google, which yielded a lot of results. However, I wanted something simple because they’re only two and three years old, and as the parents aren’t native English speakers, most of them understand the cute puns, and witty jokes used on the cards.
Featured to the left (click to enlarge) are the woodland themed cards that I got at Secret Agent Josephine. She has really adorable valentines, all of which are wonderfully designed, colourful, and free.
I printed the cards on regular paper and mounted them on thicker, pink paper to give them a little weight. After cutting them all out (rounded edges and all!) I finished them off by writing To: Name, From: Adrienne on the back; one for each student.
During my quest for cute, printable valentines, I found a few really great ones. The first set is what I used last year, and I would love to use “You’re DINO-MITE” at some point. It’s awesome. Click on the image will take to their source!
Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine’s Day!