In Japan, Valentine’s Day isn’t about couples exchanging flowers and gifts and enjoying romantic dinners; it’s about women showering everyone they know with chocolates and handmade confectionaries. This unique take on the western tradition has given birth to giri choco and honmei choco. Men who receive gifts return the favour a month later, on “White Day” on 14 March.

Given the number of gifts women feel obliged to give to their platonic contacts on Valentine’s Day, the demand for giri-choco is huge in Japan. In Nagoya this year, confectioners struggling to stand out from the crowd will be hard pressed to beat a new line of sweets featuring one of the city’s most well-known heartthrobs: Shabani the handsome gorilla.

Shabani made international headlines last year after women who saw him at Nagoya’s Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Garden fell in love with his handsome looks, causing a sharp increase in visitors.

Customers can choose from a castella sponge cake featuring the handsome primate…

…and Gorilla no Unchi (“Gorilla Poop”), which are actually dried dates that look surprisingly like the real thing!

The humorous collection also includes specially marked bags of “Alphabet Chocolate” from popular local chocolate company Meito Sangyo. Shabani will appear on the packs, smouldering in two different poses alongside a special message box designed for personal Valentine’s Day messages.
诙谐幽默的藏品还有地方品牌Meito Sangyo公司推出的超热门“字母巧克力”特别版——上面印有Shabani的头像,并有两种不同的姿势出现在外包装上,并且还附送一张情人节专属的留言卡。