This year I experienced my first Japanese Valentine’s Day. More than two weeks before the event, I was looking forward to it with confident anticipation. This year I wouldn’t sit around waiting for some guy to extend romantic greetings. I would make chocolates for all the boys in my office, and for that special boy, I would make sure his box had a little extra something.

Although things with my crush fell through before Feb. 14, I stuck with my plan and spent a whole afternoon baking brownies, chocolate cookies and chocolate-dipped strawberries. I even brought a little American into my celebration and made small Valentine’s cards just as I had done in elementary school. I invited all my colleagues out to dinner and we ended up at our regular okonomiyaki joint. The boys lit up with the chocolates, hiding away their Valentine’s cards, afraid I might have written something overly personal. Extra chocolates went to the old man at the bar, and the two old ladies who run the place.

Now that all the boys have seen my example, I’m hoping they’ll know what to do on White Day (March 14).

margaret soroka