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Romance is in the air on Valentine

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2012-02-10

First come the sweetheart cards and chocolates, and then the special dinner invitation.

Toss in the dozen red roses, and you’ve joined the ranks of those celebrating Valentine’s Day, a day so very special to lovers the world over.

Interestingly though, it’s a day nobody really knows how it got started.

Valentine’s Day, including the posting of St. Valentine’s Day in line with the Roman Catholic Church’s martyred saints Valentine, is the centerpiece of February’s month for romance. It begins with the special, often mushy verbiage cards sent to loved ones. Last year, more than one billion Valentine Cards were posted around the world.

One legend about Valentine Day’s origin evolves from the Roman Empire, where a mean-spirited Emperor, Claudius II, issued a decree that only single men be allowed in the military and that marriage was thereby outlawed. As the story goes, Valentine defied the emperor’s order and in secret, married young lovers. Valentine was reportedly jailed for his actions, and the legend stretches further that Valentine, himself a hopeless romantic, sent the first Valentine’s card to a young girl.

Okinawa Valentine’s Day celebrations center around candies, chocolates and dinner specials. On-base and off, clubs and restaurants are putting their sweet tooth forward, and offering gastronomic delights through the coming week and beyond.

The Seamen’s Club at Naha Military Port makes it really easy; its Valentine Sweetheart Dinner runs on the weekend, when babysitters are easier to get and there’s time to relax and pamper that special someone. The dinner runs Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m. ~ 9 p.m., offering a gourmet dinner for couples, complete with wine, chocolates and a rose for the lady. Reservations are recommended for whichever night’s most convenient [DSN 648-7493 or Commercial (098) 857-1753]. The culinary experience begins with baby spinach with strawberries, West Indies Pepper Pot soup, and then the Chateaubriand for two and the grilled tuna with papaya, cucumber and mint. Then there’s the wine, the chocolates, the dessert, and the rose for the lady. The couples dinner is $56.95, but the Seamen’s Club even has a Singles version of the Valentine dinner for $35.95. The Seamen’s Club is located next to Naha Military Port, just before Naha International Airport.

Kadena’s club system is making it easy to be in love this next week. Kadena Seaside Ristorante is offering a Cupid’s Dinner on Sunday the 11th, 5 p.m. ~ 9 p.m., for $60. The Rocker NCO Club hosts a Valentine’s Day dinner the 14th starting at 6 p.m. On tap are petite grilled filet mignon coupled with jumbo scallops or succulent chicken wellington. The Kadena Officers Club Valentine Dinner is also the 14th from 6 p.m. The dinner’s $28.95 per person., offering peppered beef tenderloin, Salmon Provence topped with shrimp, and a twice-baked potato.

Okuma Resort is featuring a Valentine Weekend Package the 10th ~ 12th. The two-night stay comes complete with a box of chocolates and champagne, a steak and lobster dinner with dessert for two, to be enjoyed while being serenaded by live violin music. The weekend getaway is priced at $175 per couple.

Marine Corps Community Services has plenty of activities for lovebirds. Participating clubs include the Palms on the 11th, with dinner and dancing. The Veranda at Ocean Breezewill be offering a special dinner created by it s world-class chefs, and on the 14th Tengan Castle has an intimate dining experience planned. The Buitler Offices’ Club will be hosting “Be Mine Tonight” on Valentine’s day, a six-course dinner kicks off at 6 p.m. with cocktails. The Surfside Club at Camp Kinser has a candle-lit dinner for two on the 14th from 6 p.m. ~ 8 p.m.

Be sure to check Japan Update for a variety of other Valentine’s Day and events slated for the weekend leading up to the lovers’ day.

One more Valentine’s note, for those new to Okinawa and Japanese custom. Japanese women honor their men on February 14th Valentine’s Day, showering them with chocolates and sweet affection. That’s all wonderful, but men… be prepared to reciprocate, and more, next month.

Japanese tradition is for men to reciprocate ten-fold in March, honoring their women with chocolates, flowers and gifts. Lots of gifts. In fact, Valentine’s Day and White Day in March are as popular as Christmas, and stores sell to tens of thousands of customers. Further adding to the cultural difference, it is traditional here in Okinawa to give Valentine gifts and White Day gifts to not only those sweethearts, but to co-workers, friends and even fellow students.

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