My girlfriend broke up with me a week before バレンタインデー (Barentaindee, Valentine's Day). The proximity to the holiday didn't really make a big difference to me; it was 悔しい (kuyashii, painful/frustrating) all the same.

She wasn't Japanese, so I was surprised to get a Japanese language lesson out of the ordeal. As I broke the news to people and began to go through the grieving process, I was impressed by the way my Japanese friends responded.

I'd visited Japan for the first time in four years a couple of months prior, over the お正月 (o-Shōgatsu, New Year's) holiday, and had been excited to share news of the relationship with the friends I was staying with. They are a young couple, and I'd shared an apartment with the husband in Tokyo years before. They hadn't had a chance to meet my previous girlfriends.