like valentine’s day

i know valentine’s day is the busiest day for florists in the western world. when i was working for jane packer flowers (as my work experience during my london flower-period) on valentine’s day, all the girl-staff worn something red were getting hyper and hyper as we order-slips got piled. our small workroom was a flower bouquet factory. i wondered who would be the lucky ladies being given an expensive v-day flower gift by their men, while snapping flower stems and ribbons with a pair of scissors all day. but, regular men (usually with no budget) would buy their sweethearts one single stem of red rose. that was better than nothing, i thought.

in japan, basically, valentine’s day has long been adapted as “a chocolate day” for girls by the japanese confectionery industry. young women used to generously give away a small box of chocolates to men they work with. but i’ve heard that women, these days, are less flattering for men than before. they generously buy themselves a box of choice chocolates as a reward for something like hard work, or, if they are teenagers they make their own homemade chocolate and give some to their girlfriends and eat the rest themselves. there’re no romantic motivation or even other feel-good factors for men anymore.

meanwhile, i was given a red rose by my young friends last wednesday. actually, it was nothing to do with valentine’s day. they are students of a university in osaka i once worked for. as they were completing their intensive english course, i was invited to the ceremony. how sweet! aren’t they? the boys wore suits and the girls wore dresses. they all looked as bright as a ray of spring light. it was a joyous days and i was grateful to them for sharing the celebration with me.

yes, i call them “kids” but, to be honest, i hoped they would consider me a best friend. like it or not, i am more like a mother figure for them. i'm a little disappointed. when i was leaving the celebration party, the kids gave me the beautiful red rose and scrumptious strawberry shortcake. it was like valentine's day. one single stem of rose appeared to be perfect. it surely does make up for my disappointment.

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