Source: Gaijin Pot
I don’t care for Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m anti-romance — I just hate capitalism.
The scourge of the controversial holiday is nauseating here in Japan. Saccharine displays take up every shop window weeks ahead of time. Questionable ad campaigns stir up controversy. Women are unfairly expected to make and give away all the chocolatey goodness to every guy they know (though men supposedly reciprocate a month later on White Day). Ugh. Even when I am getting laid, the whole spectacle just annoys me.
So, naturally, I was chosen as the contributor to compile a series of reader-submitted 100-words (or fewer) love stories for GaijinPot this Valentine’s Day.
The result? You wonderful people opened your hearts to us and shared your experiences with love in Japan. There are stories of fairytale romances, missed connections and pepper jack cheese. Topics considered too taboo to openly discuss, like queer trysts and office romance, make steamy appearances. In total, about 40 people submitted, and though we were regrettably only able to select 10, every single one contained something valuable, authentic and thoughtful.
Y’all even made this cynic feel a little something this V-Day.
Japan taught me how to love, and allow myself to be loved by someone, unconditionally.
The reason my eardrums are still tickled by the fluttering interludes of Debussy. The backdrop for late-night sideways smiles leaning on door frames and early morning strolls to the post office, midday musings over washoku lunches on soft grassy knolls, sharing lives under umbrellas in the plum rain.
In the crazed fruits of the balmy Kansai air, I changed. We changed. I knew what it meant to feel alive. And for two people that couldn’t imagine ever deserving love, it meant—and continues to mean—everything.