A Valentine’s day out with the girls

January 28th, 2011 by Felicity Hughes

Kichiri's Valentine set meal claims to have beauty and health boosting properties

Japanese women are used to taking the initiative on Valentine’s Day. In fact, it’s traditional for ladies in Japan to buy a nice box of chocolates for their objects of affection. Pay-back comes on White Day, when it’s the men’s turn to hand out the chocolates. Every year in Japan, vendors roll out new products and services to cash in on the dual rites of romance (as well as the obligatory giri choco for the office set).

Coincidentally, a recent survey carried out by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare showed  evidence of an alarming trend that could affect Valentine Day’s to come. If such surveys are to be trusted, less and less Japanese are having sex. The number of married couples doing it are down and more than a third of men between the ages of 16 to 19 just aren’t interested.

Can we link lower libidos with chocolate-buying patterns? No. But we couldn’t help but notice another timely trend in the mix: Valentine’s joshikai (women’s group) packages.

Restaurant chain Kichiri is offering a jyoshikai Valentine’s set meal for ¥4,000 from Jan. 28 to Feb. 14. Perhaps to prove that ladies needn’t give up on the idea of future dates completely, the meal includes health- and beauty-boosting ingredients such as avocado and broccoli. The Valentine’s jyoshikai offered by Vega in Kobe, in contrast, comprises of a gut busting five-course meal to be rounded off with a stupendous chocolate pastry.

Other businesses offering Jyoshi Kai Valentine’s Day set meals include: Hotel Osaka Bay Tower, Hotel New Hankyu, Osaka and Hotel Monterey, Osaka. Our favorite, though, has to be the Outback Steakhouse Valentine’s joshikai campaign: The lucky ladies who win the online lottery will get to tuck into a premium steak, smothered in garlic cream sauce, for just ¥2,500. If a smooch with the man of your dreams is off the menu, then why not?

Do Valentine joshikai reflect a tectonic shift in Japanese society … or are they just another way to a milk a marketing buzzword? For now, we’re leaning toward the latter. But with more herbivorous men seeping into the gene pool, you never know.

Do you think joshikai will become part of Valentine’s Day traditions? Sound off below.

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