<editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Heather. She’s a nerd who is currently living in Japan by way of Chicago. Yep, talk about a culture shock. She’s here today to talk about her life, love (which she is currently balancing long distance) and all things nerd. I only have one more thing left to say … HIT IT HEATHER!!!</editorsnote>
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Being away from America and my boyfriend, I must admit that I totally forgot today was Valentine’s Day. I’m also 15 hours ahead of American time, central time zone at least, so I’m often on a different day than you all are. That means I didn’t get the onslaught of Facebook and Twitter well wishes until about midnight on Valentine’s night for me. I was dutifully reminded though by one of my students this morning that it was Valentine’s Day. I teach every age range from 6 months old to high school. This little boy is 5 years old. He strutted into the school this morning with his mom and as soon as he opened the door, he just shouted “Happy Valentine’s Day!” to me. Beaming with pride, he ran to class and I’m pretty sure he told me “Happy Valentine’s Day” about seven times in the 45 minutes that I had class with him. It was absolutely precious and made my day. There is nothing quite like the love a child to really make you feel what real love is.
To clarify, Valentine’s Day is celebrated here in Japan. The department stores and grocery stores were selling all kinds of wonderful looking gourmet chocolates in all sorts of flavors including some really unique Japanese ones like green tea and red bean paste which are both delicious. However, most people in Japan hand make their chocolate. By hand make I mean they pretty much just melt some chocolate, put it in molds, and decorate it but that’s still more impressive that what most people I know do in America. Most stores were only selling these molds, chocolates, and assorted gift bags. No cards are sold since it is expected that you deliver the gifts straight to your Valentine. In Japan, the roles are a bit reversed on Valentine’s Day as well. The guys are the ones who receive all the presents for Valentine’s here. Ladies spend hours making these chocolates and cakes to give to their boyfriends or crushes. The funny thing is that I would have never guessed that if no one told me. Everything is so pink and frilly things we normally would not expect guys to like. But they are flattered to receive something like this. In fact, the frillier and cuter it is the bigger the honor of receiving it since it shows that the girl clearly put a ton of effort into making the sweets. The ladies get their own special day as well though. A month after Valentine’s Day, March 14th, Japanese folks celebrate White Day. On White Day, guys shower their ladies with expensive gifts or buy a small gift for their crush to show them their appreciation for the chocolate and sweets given to them on Valentine’s Day. I think it’s kind of a cute system and tradition.
I pretty much didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. I did get a couple of homemade chocolates from my older junior high and high school students which were delicious! I also was greeted by a package from my boyfriend this morning which was a special little touch to the day. He sent me some epically nerdy and sweet gifts. Nerd love is the best kind of love after all. It was hard to be away from him today. I hate to sound like I am whining but its days like this where maintaining a long distance relationship just sucks. This is the first time in three years that I have not had him by my side. While I know it’s just a commercialized holiday, Valentine’s Day is still a blast to celebrate. You get to pause and reflect on your relationship. We enjoy each other’s company and revel in what brought us together and what makes us grow in love. I know that sounds corny and I’m not normally a really romantic person but Valentine’s Day tends to bring that out in me. We did get a chance to Skype today to open gifts which was great but it’s totally not the same. It almost makes me want to see him that much more. I wish that I could even just be over at his place cuddling on the coach and exchanging gifts but that won’t happen for another 86 days. Sometimes I wonder why I even did this to myself…On a more positive note; he also used this day as an opportunity to let me know that he has officially booked a flight in May to come see me! Best. Present. Ever! Yay!