White Day

Yesterday was White Day. For those of you who don’t live in Japan, White Day is the day when boys who received chocolate on Valentine’s Day return a gift of something white, such as marshmallow candy, to the girls who were so generous on February 14. As you can see, it’s a crock. Who would choose marshmallows over chocolate? But my daughter, who gave away a pile of chocolate last month, was very much looking forward to March 14. Frankly, I’d completely forgotten about it, but someone must have mentioned it to her because every time she got her hands on a calendar, she’d draw a little heart in the space for 3/14, clasp her hands, and gaze heavenward. She was thinking about what she’d get from R-kun, who has replaced the former object of her affection, D-kun. (She doesn’t even remember the HUGE crush she had on Y-kun when she was in kindergarten.)

Fortunately, the boys at school delivered. They mostly gave her junky candy that they no doubt picked out themselves. The best gift of all was from S.-sensei, one of the first grade teachers. It was wrapped in blue paper and adorned with a pin made out of pencils. Inside, was a little white cake with almonds on top. I was going to ask him if he made it himself, or if his wife did, but I decided that I’d rather just believe the former. He seems like the type of guy who would be able to bake a cake. He’s the one who showed the kids how to make wreaths and rings out of twigs. His New Year’s card depicted a kind of still life that he’d obviously arranaged himself. In another life, I knew men who could cook better than I can. I would like to believe that there are men like that in Japan, too.


5 thoughts on “White Day

  1. While I agree that chocolate “takes” marshmallows any day, I still love this concept! To me, it reinforces the idea of obligation to each other, and to repayment of kindnesses…which I believe and value. I think kids focus easily on what they GET, having a day to focus on what you must GIVE makes it all much more reciprocal. In theory, anyway. I wonder if it works this way, in practice?

  2. We have this same holiday in Korea. I didn’t realize they have it in Japan, too. Next month is Black Day, for people who didn’t receive any candy on Valentine’s or White Day. On Black Day, those lovelorn souls are supposed to eat a big bowl of jjajjangmyun (sp?) a Chinese-Korean dish of noodles topped with black bean sauce.

  3. My issue with Valentine’s Day and White Day is that it’s always the women who have to send or give the first treat. I remember many a painful moment for the high school girls I taught in Hokkaido when they didn’t receive anything in return on White Day. Not that Valentine’s Day is perfect in any light, but the White Day idea seems a bit male-centric to me.

  4. Well, I guess I’ll be eating noodles and black beans next month because I gave my husband chocolate, but he totally forgot about White Day. My daughter gave him chocolate, too.

  5. Interesting reading about the Korean celebrations and also Jennifer’s positive take on White Day. Valentine’s Day was such a bummer when I first came here — you mean I don’t get any flowers or a romantic dinner or even chocolate?? And instead I get these pastel-colored hard candies in March?? Thanks but no thanks.

    I was holding my breath there for your daughter. So glad everyone (or almost everyone!) remembered for her.

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