Friday, February 4, 2011

Good fortune and Love Is In The Air

Yesterday was Lunar/Chinese New Year and one of the traditions that go with it is eating gau, also known as good luck mochi. I really like it and the hubby was sweet enough to go and search it out and buy some for me. We both ate it and enjoyed it very much.

It is very soft so it's nice and fresh!

It also happened to be Setsubun no Hi in Japan. You can read what Setsubun is on Wikipedia. One of the traditional foods that you eat on this day is ehoumaki, which is a good luck sushi. I had never really seen it here in Hawaii but actually never really looked that hard for it. I looked this time and found it! It is quite large!

For sizing, I have it next to my MAC Viva Glam V lipstick. It was quite delicious.

Valentine's Day is just about a week away and of course the stores are brimming with Valentine goodies. I don't know how many of you are aware that in Japan Valentine's Day is for the men. Yup, only men receive Valentine chocolates in Japan. The thing is, the chocolates are soooo pretty! There are actually two types of chocolates given. Giri Choco is the obligatory chocolate that is given to male colleagues, friends, and bosses. There is no romantic interest in these men. The other chocolates are called Honmei Choco, which are generally of a higher-quality and more expensive than the giri choco. This chocolate is given to a boyfriend, prospective boyfriend or husband, one in whom the giver has romantic feelings for. I believe that the highest honor is receiving homemade chocolates. As with everything in Japan, the presentation is very important so these chocolates are packaged very nicely. The women do not need to despair because there is White Day on March 14, when men reciprocate and give chocolates and candy to women.

My friends just returned from a trip to Japan and they brought me a variety of Valentine's Day chocolates. I'm sure that these are the Giri Choco that the Japanese women would buy for their friends. I'm just so impressed by how beautifully packaged they are. Here are some of the Valentine's Day items that they got for me:

This was the box with the green bow

This was the box with the red bow

This is the big box with the clock face

This was in the big pink box. This one surprised me because it's not chocolate but a heart-shaped cookie.

I love the intricate design work on the chocolates. They also taste really delicious, nothing like the cheap chocolates that we can get in the U.S. These are definitely creamier and richer in taste. It's making me wonder how the Honmei Choco tastes.

I must say, though, that I love our version of Valentine's Day where it's anyone who is a significant other gets Valentine's Day gifts on that one special day.


Sidenote: When my son and his fiancee were here during the holidays (he lives in Japan and she's from Japan), I mentioned something about Valentine's Day and she was surprised that it was a day of flowers, candies, presents, going out for dinner all for your loved one. I guess that my son isn't celebrating Valentine's Day in the traditional way that he grew up with. Giving him the evil eye, he basically smiled and said, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." ARGGRRR!!! I thought that we had raised him better. *sigh*


sugar sugar said...

This is the big box with the clock face is sooo cute! :) My favorite chocolates happen to be from Japan too. I'm sure you're familiar with Royce Chocolates. ^__^

Ahhh guys, your son is really a man to shrug valentines day off hahaha!

Anyway, that sushi and mochi look good. :)

Brianna said...

I can't stand valentine's day here. I used to do the whole giri choco thing, but its expensive and I don't like the idea of having to give anything to someone I don't love on valentine's day.
Thankfully my husband likes the way we do it in America and we both do nice things for each other on valentine's day.....and again on white day lol. :)
Maybe your son didn't want to rock the boat...or he likes all the chocolate? lol :)

galpal.hi said...

@sugar sugar--I think that the Japanese chocolates are quite delicious. The chocolates in that clock box are really yummy but I have to admit that the heart cookies is super delicious!


galpal.hi said...

@Brianna--I thought that since my son had been through at least 1 Valentine's Day in Japan that he would do the traditional American way with his then girlfriend, now fiancee. The surprised look on her face and how impressed she was when we explained Valentine's Day to her said it all. Hopefully this year he'll do the proper thing.

And yes, he certainly loves his chocolates. He gets that from me.


ことり ✜ kotori said...

Aww those chocos are so cute - I have to say I like the American way of Valentine's day...but the Japanese way is quite interesting in it's own way as well.

Although it has me anticipating White day then :P

I'm happy you enjoyed all your chocos ^^

Steph said...

OMG everything looks so cute =D
love the packaging / presentation!!!
&& i find it kinda cute that there's a valentine's day && a white day =D
HAHA your son is funny XD

Jennifer said...

the chocolate bears look so cute <3!! and i love how you put MAC viva glam next to the roll XD

Lemon Tart said...

I love mochi!=) The beautifully crafted chockies looks too good to eat. Your son is adorable when he quoted that. =p

galpal.hi said...

@Kotori--I definitely prefer the American way of Valentine's Day. I am really enjoying all of the choco.


galpal.hi said...

@Steph--Thank you for commenting. Yes, I love the packaging. My son...can I hit him on the head?!


galpal.hi said...

@Jennifer--LOL! I figured that everyone would know what size a MAC lipstick is so I used it for the comparison. That sushi was huge!


galpal.hi said...

@Lemon Tart--I love mochi too! Too bad gau is around only once a year. I was rolling my eyes when he was saying that.


Miss Kei Kei said...

Looks very yummy! Food looks so pretty, I am always tempted to keep it forever before it is very quickly eaten! I love sweet foods and sushi! I like to make sushi at home, although it does not taste as good! I am also obsessed with Japan's Fujiya Peko sweets. I collect the tins! I ask for a lot of snack foods from family abroad. x

Nic Nic said...

yay on the setsubun no hi sushi roll! we also celebrated it too. my mother in law bought us a roll!! and we ate it facing south - apparently lucky. wow so many cute chocs!! enjoy :D

Fruity Lashes said...

they all look delicious but the clock face chocolate is the best!

galpal.hi said...

@Miss Kei Kei--I'm sure that your homemade sushi is just as yummy, if not more yummy, than store bought. Sometimes for dinner I do a sushi bar where I just have a variety of fillings and everyone makes their own.

Peko chan is really cute so I can see why you collect the tins.


galpal.hi said...

@Nic Nic--Isn't the ehoumaki delicious?! I was really surprised because I'm kind of picky of what is in my sushi but had to eat it since there is a reason behind the different fillings. We ate it facing south too.


galpal.hi said...

@Fruity Lashes--Thanks for commenting. I'm really enjoying eating the clock face chocolates. I'm holding back on eating the other ones because they are just too pretty!


BV said...

Hi Kat

Oh man - no way! Buying chocs for all your colleagues is way way more expensive IMO and it hurts cos you really don't want to give them out! hehehehe

when I was Japan I kinda resented buying choc gifts for all my male colleagues but when it came round to white day I was seriously stunned when I received (no joke) 2 full shopping bags worth of goodies...

I will never forget one lovable fellow bought me an eyeshadow set instead of chocs! It was really thoughtful I think because it was like he was saying "yes, I noticed you always wear a lot of makeup!" LOLz...

I had forgotten how beautiful Japanese gifts were so thank you for this post!

(PS I think I am one of the few Asian people on Earth who do not like mochi!!)


galpal.hi said...

@BV--Hi there! Wow, that was really nice of that one guy to get you eyeshadow instead. It goes to show that he really put some thought and effort into his gift. I'm glad that you enjoyed seeing the beautiful packaging. I really love it too. OMG! You don't like mochi?! Yes, you are probably one of the few asians.

Thanks for taking the time to comment!