In Japan Valentines is not a really romantic celebration. Women have to give chocolates to male friends and boyfriends and they will not get anything in return. It does not sound right, but there is hope: a month later on White Day the men will pay back by giving sweets to the women in their life.
I personally prefer the western way. One of my girlfriends almost fell off her chair during my first Valentine’s day in Tokyo when I brought chocolates for her. I knew the tradition, but I wanted to show her our tradition.
In Japan details are important and the wrappings for chocolates are beautiful. In the last few years the variety of flavors have also exploited.
It is said that Valentines is celebrated in Japan as a result of marketing by Mary Chocolate Co. starting in 1958. Now the chocolate makers are trying to change the tradition motivating men to also buy chocolates for women (more sales). One of these days the flower shops are also going to catch up and promote giving flowers, I hope it does not happen; it is not good for the environment.
According to surveys many women do not enjoy the tradition and many do not buy chocolates or buy them for themselves. Any reason to eat chocolate is a good reason.