The only thing worse than being single and dateless on Valentines Day, is being single and dateless in Japan, where, (thanks to evil marketing powers that be) you get to dread not one overly-hyped couples gift-giving holiday but two. Yep, in Japan they celebrate Valentines Day twice a year, once on the traditional February 14th and again on a day random day chosen by none other than the National Confectionery Industry Association. It’s called “White Day” and was solely created to boost sales on white chocolate and lingerie. The fact that everyone is aware that this is a fictional holiday void of tradition or any historical significance and still chooses to celebrate it anyway, really shouldn’t surprise me. This is the country that spawned the Christmas Eve tradition of eating greasy imitation fried chicken at KFC, after all.
But who needs a real holiday or even a real live boyfriend when you can spend 4,935 yen on a shiny pink, heart-shaped computerized version of the real thing? It’s called Ikemen Bank (“handsome bank”) and it’s basically a piggy bank for the single girl. You deposit money into the ‘bank’ and like a good boyfriend, he lavishes you with compliments and praise (“I love you”, “You’re so beautiful”).
The best part is you can personalize your boyfriend bank by choosing from five different personalities. There’s “cool model”, “witty comedian”, “gentle, public-school boy”, “young athlete” and “older man with patience” (I do have two questions though: How is ‘public-school boy’ a personality type? And just how old is ‘older man?’?)
Personally, I think they should add a sixth boyfriend category. Something a little more grounded in reality. Something to the effect of “Overworked, Married, Alcoholic Salary Man”, no?
Ironically, just like a real live boyfriend, if you don’t give your Ikemen Bank enough regular attention, (by giving him money every week) he’ll dump you via a digital breakup letter.
Seriously. A bit harsh, don’t ya think?