Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the unnecessary pressure that comes along with Valentine’s Day? Draw some inspiration from these fun, fuss-free date and gift ideas around Tokyo, for a simple yet tasteful (and thoughtful) celebration. We start off with four gifts that should win a special place in the heart of the special girl or guy in your life.
Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique
A mosaic of crus, grape varieties, aromas and flavors, Jacquart’s flagship cuvée—which was served at the Nobel Prize gala dinner—could not be more aptly named. The freshness and balance on the palate emphasize the character of the wine, while its light body reveals delicate aromas and showcases the elegance of the Jacquart style.
Where: Isetan Shinjuku
More info: www.champagne-jacquart.com
SABON Valentine’s Day Gift Pouch
A selection from SABON’s popular men’s line—the “Gentleman series”—which features impressive, chic design, complemented by the elegant scent of citrus. The Valentine’s selection includes Hair Shampoo, Shower Oil, and Hand Cream, and makes a great gift for that special someone, or anyone else who’s close to your heart.
Where: SABON locations around Japan
More info: www.sabon.co.jp
Jimmy Choo Belgravia High Tops
If you thought Jimmy Choo shoes only came in towering stilettos, fit only for the female cast of Sex and the City, you might be reassured to find out the famed designer also makes sneakers, including this pair of Belgravia high tops. And these Choos are definitely made for walking: the supple leather men’s kicks offer city walking comfort and runway swag.
Price: ¥87,480 and up
Princesse Tam Tam Bra and Panty Set
No V-Day would be complete without a little underwear drawer update, but sometimes knowing just what to pick can be tough for a guy. We recommend this Princesse Tam Tam naughty-yet-nice combo, complete with embroidered daisies and just the right amount of sheer. After all, every miss wants to feel pretty under all those winter layers…
Price: ¥12,400 for the set
Valentine’s Activity Guide
As you know, Valentine’s Day in Japan is all about men, even though women get their turn one month later in White Day. If you choose to celebrate the holiday like the locals, you can try your hand at making homemade chocolate for the men in your life—according to tradition, women are also expected to give chocolate to men whom they’re in entirely platonic relationships with, including co-workers, bosses and male friends. Phew. Follow our easy, DIY guide for making those “obligatory chocolates”, called Giri Choco. Bonus: it will guarantee you a little treat on March 14th!
Although the image of couples skating and holding hands can seem a little cliché for V-Day, you can turn it into something fun and artistic to do with your family or friends. For one more week, you can glide on the Art Rink at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, to the soundtrack of musicians and surrounded with art and light. When you’re ready for a break, the venue is also featuring a special collection of fruit-based sweets designed by local artists.
No holiday in Tokyo would be complete without an illumination of some kind. And the truth is, they’re quite impressive to look at and make any holiday feel more festive. Until Friday, the area around Roppongi Hills is turning bright red for Valentine’s Day, complete with dazzling trees lining Keyakizaka street and heart-shaped motifs. You can also indulge in some gorgeous champagne and sweets pairings at many of the participating shops in the complex, such as La Maison du Chocolat.
Nothing screams romance more than bonding over music, especially when it involves an old-school glam rock band. That’s right, Mötley Crüe is in town for their Final Tour, and this is your last chance to catch their hits live. The band has survived years of sex, scandal, drug addiction and even (temporary) death to continue to bring their raucous rock n’ roll act to the world for over three decades, so this last hurrah should rock your socks off. If glam rock isn’t your thing, get your hands some some Hostess Club Weekender tickets for a more indie vibe.
Well, at least give it a try. The Bonjour Tokyo crew is putting on a sensual, mysterious Valentine’s Night party. The theme of the evening is a masquerade ball, and some of the night’s highlights include romantic slow dance sessions and a bevy of masked dancing girls. Bring a mask (the first attendees for the night can also pick one up on entry), and leave your inhibitions at the door. Couples are welcome, but they should at least bring a single friend!
Burn off some calories from all that chocolate by going on a hike, while simultaneously viewing some pretty things. We’re talking about plum blossoms, which are sakura’s lesser known cousin: not only are they around for much longer (about a month), they’re also fragrant and come in an array of colors. What’s not to love? Take your pick from our plum blossoms festival guide.
Find out all about the game of romance between furry critters by taking a guided tour at Ueno Zoo, where you can pick up some knowledge while cooing over how cute they are. If the weather is too cold for your liking, watch some sea creatures in the heated glory that is Tokyo Sea Life Park.
Catch the steamy sensation “50 Shades of Grey,” which is finally hitting cinemas this week. The novel’s success opened the floodgates to all kinds of conversations on its depiction of a dominance/submission and sadomasochistic relationship and on women’s sexuality in general, and now you can find out how it translates on the silver screen. If you prefer something a bit more tame or family friendly, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back to kick-start the ninja craze for a whole new generation of fans.
Main Image: blentley/Flickr (Creative Commons)