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Step one: Grab a cardboard box. Step two: Head to the world’s busiest intersection.

This year, as Valentine’s Day approached, RocketNews24 headquarters was filled with the melancholy sighs of our Japanese-language reporter Seiji. In Japan, it’s customary for girls to give chocolate to guys on February 14, but being without a girlfriend meant that this Seiji was unlikely to get any sweets, which had him feeling pretty bitter.

▼ Seiji

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“What’s so great about Valentine’s Day?” Seiji grumbled on the day itself. But suddenly he had a flash of inspiration, as he realized that even if was going to spend the day without a date, he didn’t have to spend it without chocolate. He grabbed a cardboard box and walked out the door, and we decided to follow along at a distance, so we could see what he was up to while still being far enough away to deny knowing him if it turned out to be something embarrassing.

At first we thought Seiji might have decided to withdraw from society and live in the box he was carrying, but instead of riding the train out into the mountains he got off at Shibuya Station, which is right next to the famed Shibuya Scramble intersection, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world.

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However, we got another scare as Seiji dropped to his knees in the plaza right next to the station’s gate. Thankfully, though, this wasn’t due to the crushing loneliness of not having a girlfriend, as he pulled out a large sketchpad and a marker.

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There was a moment of tense anxiety as we wondered if he was going to write “Goodbye, cruel world,” but instead his message read “Please give me some Happy Valentine’s Day chocolate.”

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▼ And the moisture isn’t from Seiji’s tears of loneliness, but from the rain that was falling on Tokyo on the morning of February 14.

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Finally, he added “RocketNews” to the bottom right corner of the sign, because, like all of our staff members, Seiji primarily took this job because of how easy it is to use it as an excuse to solicit free food.

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Now it was time to play the waiting game, as Seiji stood in the middle of the pedestrian thoroughfare with an empty box and a heart full of hope.

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After 30 minutes, Seiji still had nothing to show for standing out in the wind and rain. But then, finally, a woman approached him, and dropped a pack of chocolate into his box!

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Fortune had smiled on Seiji, and he smiles back with delight while profusely thanking the masked woman for her generosity.

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She wasn’t the only passerby with a gift for Seiji, either. Soon enough, other young ladies come forward with sweet somethings for our reporter.

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Seiji also turned out to be a big hit with kids.

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And it wasn’t just generations Seiji’s friendly aura bridged, but nationalities as well. At one point, he found himself surrounded by visiting elementary school students from China and their interpreter.

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▼ Just think how excited these kids’ parents will be when they get back from their trip and tell them they met the Seiji Nakazawa in Japan!

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Seiji’s appeal even cut across gender lines, as a couple of dudes also gave him some Valentine’s Day chocolate, including one guy who stopped our reporter just as he was about to pack up and leave.

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After an hour of standing in front of Shibuya Station, Seiji came back to the office with 11 different snacks. Honestly, if we’d left him out there all day, he probably could have filled up the whole box.

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Granted, one of them was a pack of chocolate-flavored Calorie Mate protein bars, but that’s still close enough to count as Valentine’s Day chocolate in our book.
And as for Seiji himself, he was singing a completely different tune about the romantic holiday

▼ “Isn’t Valentine’s Day awesome? I love it!”

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So next time you’re feeling down on Valentine’s Day, remember: You don’t need a girlfriend or boyfriend to enjoy it, as long as you celebrate it like it’s Halloween.

Images ©RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]