Valentine's & White DaysWritten by Zachariah Smookler
Valentine’s Day is a special holiday, and a day where people break out all sorts of presents and gestures to show their loved ones how much they truly mean to them. Although Valentine’s Day is very popular in Japan, it is celebrated quite differently than in the United States.
First off, it is important to recognize that Valentine’s Day came to Japan in the 1950s, a much shorter period of time when compared to their Western counterparts. Why did the Japanese decide to adopt this holiday in the first place? The start of its popularity in Japanese society can be pinpointed to a department store that started running a “Valentine’s Day Sale” and a confectionary company that wanted to sell their heart-shaped chocolate on Valentine’s Day.
Unlike anywhere else in the world, Japan celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14 and White Day on March 14. On February 14, women give gifts to men, the most ordinary being some form of chocolate. This activity is reciprocated on March 14 with White Day, a chance for men to return the favor. It is crucial to note that Japanese Valentine’s day isn’t exclusively reserved for those with romantic partners, which is a breath of fresh air for those who aren’t in a relationship.
The crane has held significant value and importance traditionally in Japanese society and this absolutely applies to Valentine’s/White Day as well. The Japanese crane is a symbol of long life, love, and fidelity. They are known for mating and partnering up for life, although they have been known to engage in an intricate wooing and dancing rituals. Crane associated gifts are very popular choices for Valentine’s Day as they represent love and the longevity of a relationship.
For Valentine’s Day 2022 we are channeling our Japanese crane energy and offering two of our favorite brews (both with cranes on the label).
Manotsuru “Crane” Junmai an elegant, earthy all-around sake that pairs well with a wide range of foods. $25
Kaori Tsuru, brewed by the Yamagata Honten who are committed to the preservation of the ecology that is home to both Japanese cranes and the resources required to produce this Junmai Daiginjo. $69
Celebrate Japanese Valentine’s Day like a pro and don’t forget about White Day on 3/14!