Apparently, and I found this out after Valentine's day, in Tokyo the women are supposed to give the men gifts, usually chocolate, on Valentine's Day. Then a few weeks later the men reciprocate with gifts on White Day which is March 14th. I think I'm going to make out twice this year!
Thankfully Russell didn't get any chocolates this year. I breathed a sigh of relief after reading this excerpt from about.com while researching White Day.
Don't get too excited when you get chocolates from Japanese girls! They might be "Giri-choko" (obligation chocolate). A true love chocolate is called a "Honmei-choko." "Giri-choko" is given to men such as bosses, colleagues or male friends women have no romantic interest in, just for friendship or gratitude. The concept of "giri" is very Japanese. It is a mutual obligation the Japanese follow when dealing with other people. If someone does you a favor, then you feel obligated to do something for that person.
Russell and I have our own way of celebrating Valentine's Day. It's also a two-parter. In America VD is one big marketing smack down. Restaurants are over-crowed and tragically over-priced. You get shitty service and crappy food. Men are forced to send ostentatious bouquets of roses to their sweethearts (not like that's a bad thing). So we stay at home on VD and have our own celebration. It's the same every year: caviar, steamed lobster, baked potato and chocolate cake and a bottle of champagne, maybe a couple of strawberries to wash it all down. Then when the VD fervor has succumbed we go to a nice restaurant and have a proper romantic meal.
This year we did it in reverse as it was more difficult to get the provisions we needed in Tokyo and since it was our first Saturday back in Japan with Ranger -the-wonder-dog.
Russell took me to this outrageously good restaurant called Les Creations de NARISAWA the Saturday before VD. He told me to go to the site to get an idea of what we might encounter.
The web site literally says, and I quote:
"Guests should fall under the spell of the season. They should not only be eating the meal, they should absorb life itself."
"Absorb life itself?!" W-h-a-t? A little deep. I mean, we're just having dinner right, not joining a cult.
See for yourself.
Well even the website did not prepare me for the overwhelming experience we had there. I confess at the end of the meal I did say I think it's better than French Laundry, which as everyone knows, is the best restaurant in the United States.
Don't be fooled - this is edible.
A salad too gorgeous to eat but I forced myself.
The salad was dressed with a special olive oil -
made from the first olive trees grown in Japan,
and he poured it from these beakers.
This is fois gras - my all time favorite dish,
artfully prepared with mico greens and strawberry, yes strawberry.
When he put the ash on the squid it looked like it was smoking and it was. This was called "Ash 2009 Wind of Basque." The best part of it was not the cirque du soleil serving performance but the taste.
It was awesome. I was truly absorbing life, or at least inhaling it.
Valentine's Day at home.....
Mood lighting and those are the flowers Russell
had delivered to the restaurant on Saturday night.
I keep him for a little while longer.