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February in Japan

The cold weather continues, which is great if you happen to be in the Northern prefectures as the skiing is World class. The most northern island of Hokkaido also has its famous Snow Festival, where ice sculptures decorate the capital city of Sapporo.

As many other countries in the world, February 14th sees Valentines Day in Japan. However, in keeping with the Japanese tradition of taking ideas from abroad and making then their own, this festival too has a slight twist. St Valentines day is the time for girls to give presents to boys. But it is not just a declaration of love, it's not unusual for girls to give Valentines Chocolates, called "giri choco" from the word "giri" which means "obligation" or "duty", to all of her acquaintances! Of course her real love will get a present as well, the "honne choco"!



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