Headed to Japan this week? Hooters Tokyo location is offering a Valentine's Day special through next Tuesday: Two promotional ice cream desserts called the Volcano of Love and the Rock of Love, and the first 1,000 customers to order either will get a collector's edition pin of Hello Kitty as a Hooters girl.
We're not sure what's more effed-up: the idea of spending Valentine's day with your honey at Hooters, or the notion of Hello Kitty dressed up in shiny orange ass-shorts and a snug tank-top. If you roll with the premise that Hello Kitty has hooters, wouldn't she have six or eight or however many nipples cats have?
The bigger, ¥2400 Volcano of Love (snicker) works out to almost US$32 worth of ice cream parfait. For that kind of money, you'd really have to covet that limited-edition tschotske to add to your fanatic's collection of items with Miss Kitty's likeness, like the lawnmower, the cleverly-named HK-47 assault rifle, and the chainsaw.
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Valentine's Day works differently in Japan. It's an imported commercial occasion (see also Japanese Christmas) when women buy cards and gifts for the men in their lives. No matter how hard you try, boys, you can't buy a manly Valentine card in Japan because they just aren't produced.
Exactly a month later, there's a follow-up on March 14 called White Day when the men reciprocate with bigger and better gifts. It feeds off the Japanese cultural inclination to give little gifts at the slightest notion, and an obligation to reciprocate at the next opportunity. The manufactured occasion is a merchant's chance to cash in twice.
Shuji Sakai attempts to explain random Japanese food oddities with varying degrees of success. Follow him on Twitter and professorsalt.com.