The Weekend Before Valentine’s Day

LOFT Valentine's Day
Super-sized Meiji Chocolate Bars, Pocky, Crunky, and other popular chocolates.

Today is Sunday, February 12th and the weekend just before Valentine’s Day in Japan. In case you didn’t know, Valentine’s Day in Japan is all about women giving chocolates to men… and lately, themselves and their close girlfriends, too. Women usually have to wait until White Day on March 14th to receive a gift in return. I wrote a blog post about it last year, which you can read here.

It’s going to be a busy weekend for girls and women in Japan, both inside and outside the home. I took a trip to the supermarket yesterday to pick up vegetables for dinner last night, and the store was packed. Women were swarmed around the Valentine’s Day seasonal displays, grabbing chocolates and baking supplies left and right. I imagine today will only be busier. It was hard for me not to join in. Some stores, like popular chain store LOFT, have an amazing selection of chocolates: super-sized versions of popular candy bars, liqueur-filled chocolates, character goods, and more. Take a look…

Valentine's Day Displays at LOFT
Displays propped up at the store’s entrance.

LOFT Valentine's Day
Thomas the Train, Rilakkuma, and One Piece chocolates. These are for kids!

LOFT Valentine's Day
Petite Patisserie… miniature donut and cake chocolates!

choco-scopes Choco-scopes! What does yours say? Mine says I will only eat imported chocolate! ;)

In addition to pre-packaged goods, you can also go the extra mile and bake chocolates and cookies to express your love. Most homes in Japan don’t come with the large gas ovens we’re used to in Western countries, but rather a microwave oven which also has a toast and oven setting. They’re not very powerful, and they are very small. However, baking has been made easy in Japan with these Valentine’s baking kits! For about US $6, you can buy a small kit which contains the dry ingredients and other baking supplies needed to make cakes, cookies, and macarons. You can also buy extra toppings and decorations for anywhere between $1-4.

LOFT Valentine's Day

The kits in the picture above are for Spoon Chocolates, Macarons, Truffles, Mini Chocolates (similar to the Petite Patisserie above), nama-choco (“fresh chocolate” — very similar to truffles), brownies, cookie lollipops, fondue cake, chocolate marbled cheesecake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, lollipop chocolates, mini chocolate tarts, and more…

LOFT Valentine's Day
A variety of cake and cookie decorations.

As for me, I’ve decided to venture into baking this year. I’ve always been a little bit afraid of my microwave-toaster-oven combination machine. My cornbread has come out fine, but Betty Crocker brownies have been a disaster. I’m hoping this second attempt at chocolate-baking will go more smoothly, since I’ve picked up a baking kit made specifically for Japan. :)

mama's kitchen
Gâteau au Chocolat, Couverture Chocolate Tablets (bitter 66% cacao) for melting and making chocolates, and Pink Silver Leaf Topping in heart shapes and sparkles.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This post was submitted to the February 2012 J.Festa: Valentine’s Day in Japan!

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