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Romantic notions plentiful at Valentineís

Date Posted: 2006-02-10

First come the sweetheart cards and chocolates, and then the special dinner invitation. Toss in the dozen red roses, and youíve joined the ranks of those celebrating Valentineís Day, a day so very special to lovers the world over.

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

Valentineís Day, including the posting of St. Valentineís Day in line with the Roman Catholic Churchís martyred saints Valentine, is the centerpiece of Februaryís 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 Dayís 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 emperorís 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 Valentineís card to a young girl.

Okinawa Valentineís 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.

Hawaiian-owned Samís Restaurant Group is doing things up right at all its restaurants. The Maui Steak Houses on Highway 58 and Kokusai in Naha, Samís Anchor Innís in Ginowan and on Kokusai in Naha, and Samís Cafť just outside Camp Fosterís gate are all extending special welcome to Valentine guests.

Samís By The Sea, the groupís two culinary specialty restaurants voted ďBest in the Pacific for Romantic DinnersĒ 2001~2006 by a daily newspaper, have super special dinners lined up now through the 15th.Sea Bass on French Ratatouille is on sale for •1,950, Tenderloin Steak Madeira is available for Valentineís for Y2,700, and Roast Tenderloin Steak Madeira and Macadamia Crested Sea Bass tops the specialty charts at •2,980.

Samís By the Sea Awase is located east of the Kadena Air Base Gate, through Awase. Naha Oroku is located on Highway 331 just south of Naha International Airport.

One more Valentineís note, for those new to Okinawa and Japanese custom.

Japanese women honor their men on February 14th Valentineís Day, showering them with chocolates and sweet affection. Thatís all wonderful, but menäbe 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, Valentineís 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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