Wednesday, February 22, 2012

J-Festa: Valentine's Day in Japan

Although I already wrote a little about my valentine's day in Japan, I figured I would also write a little entry for this month's J-Festa post! Not only that, but I wanted to add another post onto my "I gotta tell someone Top Five Ranking" series that has sat stagnant since I wrote about the dumbest non-alcoholic beverages this country has produced thus far. :P So, without further ado, I give you...

Top Five Cutest Valentine's Day Sale Items

5. Valentine's Day beer/alcohol: This isn't really that cute, but I think it's funny how Japan tries to even doll beer and sake up with bows, ribbons, hearts, and "couple's packaging" in order to sell booze on this big day of love. The above image is obviously one of the more simpler packaging ideas. This year, I saw tiny airplane-size booze bottles wrapped up in heart shaped baskets with pink plastic grass and enough pink and chocolate beer to drown Tokyo.

4. Valentine's Day Kit-Kats: If you've ever been to Japan, you know that the beloved chocolate kit-kat has been transformed into a monster with about a zillion flavors and themes over here. To name a few: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Strawberry, Macha, Sakura, Lemon Soda, Coca Cola, Yuzu, Orange, Custard, Pudding, Cookies and Cream, Melon, Lemon Lime, Fruit Parfait, Banana, Mango, Kurumi.... The list goes on. I've seen pictures of "Shoyu Kit-Kats" as well (nasty sounding if you ask me....). With that in mind, of COURSE kit-kats are going to be holiday themed! It's only a matter of time before they make a difference one for every day of the year so each person can have a "birthday kit-kat" or something....

3. Valentine's Day Packaging: I love and hate how much effort goes into packaging things in Japan. Most of the time, food items come triple-quadruple wrapped in plastic and paper. Then, once you've finally managed to get your item of desire out of it's many shells of wrapping, you have to properly dispose of said wrapping into the correct trash receptacles. So wasteful... However, at the same time, Japan does DIY gift-wrapping in the most adorable way. There are soo many cute boxes, plastic bags, wrapping papers and stickers to choose from. Valentine's day especially. You can choose boxes that will specially fit any type of sweet you made and make it look like a store-bought beauty.

2. Valentine's Day Chocolate Kits: It's the thought that counts, right? And if your S.O can't make you delicious candies and cupcakes from scratch, then at least they tried their hardest with a kit. But honestly, I think that (while very domesticating for females) it's a really cute idea to make special Valentine's day chocolate and pastry kits so that even the people who aren't skilled at wielding a whisk or double boiler can make something that is "手作り" or "made-by-hand" and has some of their heart put into it.

As is written above, in exchange for some strawberry brownies, Yukiko made me her Special Cake~
Hand-made chocolate from students~
Hand-made chocolate from teachers~
1. Valentine's Day Sweets: In the month or so before Valentine's Day, most sweet-making materials (like chocolate, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon) go on sale so that ambitious people can make their own sweets from scratch. By far, I think this is the best way to "do Valentine's Day" right. Relying on a kit is one thing, and buying a box of chocolates from the store could be seen as a little lazy at times... but actually taking some time out of your day to make crooked cupcakes and lumpy chocolates for the people you care about is the cutest and only valuable thing about Valentine's Day in my opinion. :)

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