Happy Valentine's Day!
It's been a busy week or 2. Last Friday was Harikuyou, a memorial for needles. We should stick our sewing needles into a block of tofu or konnyaku to give them a rest from all that hard sewing for a day, and give a prayer of thanks for their efforts and also pray for our sewing skills to improve. Since few people still sew, it's probably not a huge occasion, but I wouldn't be surprised if some fashion designers here followed the tradition. Some shrines like Egara Tenjin in Kamakura hold thanksgiving services for needles.
|The Harikuyou service at Egara Tenjin... a giant block of tofu acts as a pin cushion.|
Monday was a national holiday (National Foundation Day) and today is Valentine's Day, so this is a great week for the average salaryman: a day off, and hopefully, a lot of chocolate. Not so much fun for the average housewife though: an extra day of cooking 3 meals and making 'honmei choco'.
|The macaron craze continues - Muji has make-your-own macaron kits for 'honmei choco'|
|Got these beautiful silicon chocolate moulds at Muji, to make 'wagashi' shaped chocs and cookies.|
|My own efforts weren't so photo ready. White chocolate is NOT chocolate! |
They're only as good as the chocolate you use.
Every year though, it seems fewer women are buying 'giri choco' - those chocolates one feels socially obligated to buy for male co-workers and sempai - and more are buying 'tomo choco', chocolates for their female friends. This year's commercials for Meiji chocolate shows a typical high school girl making chocolates for her friends at school, intercut with her and her friends laughing and hanging out. Boys don't get a look-in. Even Arashi's Matsujun, who is magically 'supervising' her cooking, misses out on the chocolates.
|Here's Matsujun looking more like someone's grandpa for Meiji|
|And he finds out the high school girl didn't make him any chocolates.|
As a result, the packaging is getting girlier every year. I still saw sake flavour and even Tabasco flavour chocolates, aimed at men, and a lot of novelty packaging (chocolates wrapped to look like dried abalone, dried sardines, etc was popular with the high school boys I saw at Loft).
|In case you forgot the date, Plaza stores will wrap your gift in bold arrows.|
|Some of my hubby's haul (the Ghana will be made into Gundam-shaped chocolates today). I really hope the 'dried fish' ones don't taste like fish!|
|Chocolate Nano blocks to build a 'beer' nanoblock. "Love for Boy"' sounds a bit too much like "boy love" , but anyway...|
|Popular stores like Loft, Tokyu Hands and Plaza also give out free instructional magazines full of recipes and decorating ideas.|
|I'm not sure what message this breath mint cocktail sends to the man in your life, but there are a lot of old dudes on the rush hour trains who could do with a few strong mints.|
|This shopping bag will proclaim your feelings to the world.|