Happy Valentine's Day from Japan!

Happy Valentine's Day to you from Japan!

As I've reported here previously, Valentine's Day is a huge, serious, and often rather ridiculous day here, and it seems to get wackier every year. I saw a report on a local news program here the other day about the new trendy chocolate packages this year, such as chocolates for female bosses to give to their male underlings to tell them to 'hang in there' and to 'be more of a man' (apparently these are intended especially for soushoku otoko or "herbivore men" (or in other words men who are not manly enough to eat meat...not necessarily referring to vegetarians). Another one which I thought was hilarious is the "Propose To Me Or Else" chocolate gift set; it contains a fake diamond engagement ring with a note that says "I'll be expecting a real one of these soon", a card that says "Good until" with place to write a date in, and oh yes some chocolates.

Of all the myriads of chocolates on offer, this is my favorite this year:

kobato2

Called Kobato (which means little dove or pigeon), it's a tiny, white chocolate dove, barely a mouthful. I am not normally a fan of white chocolate, but this level of cuteness is impossible to resist. The Kobato come packaged in a little box like so:

kobato1

They are made by a famous confectionery maker or okashiya (お菓子屋 - maker of sweet things) based in the historic town of Kamakura called Toshimaya (Japanese-only website). Besides Kamakura, they have stalls or counters in several department store food halls in the Tokyo/Kanagawa area. Their main claim to fame is this, a light, buttery cookie called Hato (dove or pigeon) Sablé (鳩サブレー). It too is adorable, though expensive at about 100 yen per cookie.

hato sablé cookie

Anyway, I hope that Valentine's Day is as sweet for you as you want it to be!

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