By Nature’s Statute With Plesaunce Pricked

What marvel, when Bacchus and Apollo smile on me, that a host of maidens should give me choco on Saint Valentine’s Day?

For this is the day, as our Chaucer relates, this is the day when birds choose their mates and are pricked with “plesaunce” by Nature’s statute and all that…

Ye knowe wel how, seynt Valentynes day,
By my statut and through my governaunce,
Ye come for to chese — and flee your way —
Your makes, as I prik yow with plesaunce.

Valentine’s Day in Japan

Here in Japan it is customary for boys to receive “plesaunce” from the girls, usually in the form of chocolate. In the good old days, when giri – duty – was taken seriously, and when Japan was booming, every dutiful maiden would fess up and present the men in her life – bosses, colleagues, English teachers and other worthless fellows – with little boxes of quality choco, dismissively named “girichoco“.

I hear that the custom of giving girichoco is in decline in these days of austerity, but this year my 9yo daughter and her school chums have been busy talking about and preparing to give each other “tomochoco” – chocolate for friends, which, as my daughter so sweetly told me, are for her girl friends only and not for boys and certainly not for old coots – jiji – or fools – baka – or fathers.

Teddy Bear Makes Your Sweetie Happy!

So the prospects for girichoco did not look too promising this year, until I visited Miyata Ganka last Wednesday evening. At the end of Doctor Miyata’s daughter’s class she was prompted by her mother to present me with a pretty tin of BB Choco which was almost, almost, too cutesy to consume, and which has the legend on the lid of the tin…

Why don’t you give the BB Cholat [sic] to your friends and beloved ones?

I am not sure into which category I fall, but I did appreciate the gesture, which permits me to indulge in the merry conceit that Bacchus and Apollo have not entirely ceased to bless my caput calvum antiquum.

Speaking of bears, bald pates and insolent children, I must remember to read the second chapter of the second book of Kings, verses 23-24, to my daughter as a bedtime story tonight:

ascendit autem inde Bethel cumque ascenderet per viam pueri parvi egressi sunt de civitate et inludebant ei dicentes ascende calve ascende calve. qui cum se respexisset vidit eos et maledixit eis in nomine Domini egressique sunt duo ursi de saltu et laceraverunt ex eis quadraginta duos pueros.

When all’s said and done, though, it is better to bear it and to consume than to be consumed by bears or choloric humours, so let’s open the tin and if you can’t bear to tear into them, oh my sweet Valentine, pray pass the tin to me and I shall bite their heads off, be they never so many, in honour of the decollation of blissful martyr, the spilling of whose hot blood, and whose merry festival, we celebrate today, if Bacchus and Apollo smile upon our ancient revels and new jollity.

BB Choco bears: almost, almost too cutesy to consume…