Welcome back everyone! Yukai barentaindee dei! ^_^ Hee hee!
So many people inquire about my love life, to which I reply "ookina osewa da!" (mind your own business). But since it's near Valentine's Day, I will disclose about my very first boyfriend.
Donny was cute, charming, talented.......and 3'1". He was, of course, 7 years old and I was 6. Even back then I preferred older guys. Sigh. I don't know what it was about him. Perhaps it was his bowlcut, trademark white and yellow Osh Kosh overalls or the way he said my name "I wuv u Koko". Hee! So we were babysat by our neighbor Mrs. Tanaka, who spent her time teaching us customs from Japan (we, of course, grew up in Cali). Donny and I always fought...well, he did most of the hair pulling. So Mrs. Tanaka taught us the Japanese twist of Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day was brought to Japanese culture after World War II. Not coincidentally, the expansion of chocolate factories also increased. However, because of cultural roots, it has been the women who bought chocolate and spoiled their lovers on Valentine's Day! But that's not the craziest part! Girls are obligated to give a guy something even when the girl is single. In other words, an entire nation's female population turned and faced the male population and collectively gave them chocolate gifts. No male left behind! ^_^ ~!
So after Donny was done pulling my hair and I was left crying with snot on my nose, Mrs. Tanaka took me to her kitchen and gave me some cocoa pudding to mix up. I stirred and stirred, staining my little hands and elbows with chocolate powder. Together we made buraunii, which is a Japanese homemade brownie! Mrs. Tanaka said I had to make it by hand because it came from my heart. On Japanese Valentine's Day, you can give basic chocolate to those who you are casual or not familiar with. On the other hand, you can do what is called honmei choco, which is chocolate that is either incredibly expensive or handmade. Being only 6 years old, I couldn't afford Godiva, so Mrs. Tanaka made a good decision on creating something homemade!
But wait that's not fair...why shouldn't the guys do any work in Japan? Lazy bums! Joudan deshou?!!
Oh wait, in Japan, they have ANOTHER Valentine's Day called White Day (March 14th)! During White Day, it's the guys' turn to spoil the girls and give us, not chocolate, but...something white colored. Why white? The official answer is that white symbolizes purity, such that it means what is given is what is from the heart with the best of intentions. However, rumor has it that a marshmallow factory in Japan conspired to create this holiday back in the 60's to sell marshmallows!
For White Day, many desserts are made white and go on sale as gifts for the ladies. The guys have more to choose from besides marshallows. They can select white chocolate, white-colored cakes, snow mochi, or even...WHITE DAY POCKY!!! ^_^ Yummmm.
So that Valentine's Day, Mrs. Tanaka asked Donny to make nice with me and give me a hug. Surprisingly, he gave me a kiss on the cheek and we ate the buraunii together and watched Duck Tales together. For the rest of the day, we held hands and I got to play with his He-Man toys. The relationship lasted until our parents came and picked us up. Then we fought all over again...that is, until White Day!
I'll never forget my first "boyfriend", 7-year-old Donny from Mrs. Tanaka's babysitting home! :)
Come back again in 15 days when we share another fun article about Asian-inspired Desserts! And don't forget to tell your loved ones on Valentine's Day "kokoro no sokokara aishiteru!" ("I love you from the bottom of my heart!")