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Valentine's Day in Other Cultures

In Japan and Korea, Valentine's Day has emerged, thanks to a concentrated marketing effort, as a day on which women give candy to men they like. Rather than being voluntary however, this has become for many women – especially those who work in offices – an obligation, and they give chocolates to all their male co-workers, sometimes at significant personal expense. This chocolate is known as giri-choco, in Japan, from the words giri (obligation) and choco, a common short version of chokoreto, meaning chocolate.

By a further marketing effort, a reciprocal day, called White Day has emerged. On this day (March 14), men are supposed to return the favour by giving something to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine's Day. Many men, however, give only to their girlfriends. Originally the return gift was supposed to be white chocolate or marshmallows (hence the name "White Day"). However, more recently men have taken the name to a different meaning, thus lingerie is quite a common gift.

In Korea, there is also an additional Black Day, held on April 14, when males who did not receive anything for Valentine's Day gather together to eat Jajangmyun (Chinese-style noodles in black sauce).

In Chinese Culture, there is a similar counterpart of the Valentine's Day. It is called "The Night of Sevens", on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar; the last one being August 11, 2005. (A slightly different version of this day is celebrated in Japan as Tanabata, on July 7th (the same day, but transcribed to the solar calendar)).

In Persian Culture (Iran) this popular date is discreetly celebrated by most lovers despite the disapproval of such occasion by the hardline Islamic government as a copycat of the west, but Persian youths and adults manage to celebrate following the traditions of the west disregarding the unfair limitations and restrictions imposed by the government.

In Brazil, there is no such day as Valentine's Day. Instead, on June 12, "Dia dos Namorados" (lit. "Day of the enamored", or "Boyfriend's/Girlfriend's Day") is celebrated. On this day, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, exchange gifts (lingerie, chocolates, and more), cards and usually a flower bouquet. This day is chosen probably because it is one day before the Saint Anthony's day, there known as the marriage saint, when many single women perform popular rituals in order to find a good husband (or, more modernly at least a boyfriend).




VISIT TO A DOCTOR

The problem of health always worried people. It has been in the center of attention of the scientists since ancient times. Perhaps, of all unpleasant things people hate diseases most of all. In theory we know well what we should do to be healthy, but in practice there is hardly a man who has no problems with his health. Sometimes people, who are very busy aren't thoughtful enough about their health. Of course, much has been done to put an end to a great number of diseases and epidemics. The scientists have already found cures for many diseases, afflicting people. But still we are suffering from many of them. One of the diseases which disappeared at all is a smallpox. It's a terrible virus disease. First we can read about it in ancient Egyptians manuscripts, which were written nearly 6000 years ago, in ancient documents of China and India. Abu Ali Ebu Sina was the first man who gave detail description of smallpox. Nobody knows the exact time of it's appearing in Europe. There were great epidemics in Italy, France and in a lot of others. In the 17-18 centuries in Europe every year 10 million died. In the 16 century smallpox came to American continent with Spanish colonists and caused terrible epidemics among the Indians. Later this disease came to Australia. Smallpox killed a lot people and Edward Jenner invented vaccination from it. It was a very great invention – the first vaccination in the world. I must say, that I seldom fall ill. I go in for sports, try to spend a couple of hours in the open air every day and do all that kinds of things in order to keep fit.

But, unfortunately, I fell ill in winter. It was rather cold outside and I probably caught the infection. When I came home I felt that I had a sore-throat. I made hot tea with honey, but it didn't help. At last I decided to go to the doctor. I went there with my friend, for I felt very bad indeed. When we came, a doctor, a kind-hearted middle-aged woman in a white gown, offered me to sit down and asked me what I complained of. I had a terrible headache and sore throat and it ached me to swallow. Besides, I was constantly sneezing and coughing. It turned out that I was running a high temperature.

The doctor examined my throat, sounded my heart and lungs, had my blood pressure tested. She said it was flu and prescribed some pills and mixture - I had to take medicine 3 times a day before meals and to stay in bed for a week until full recovery. The recovery was slow. I slept badly, had no appetite. I suffered from a slight, but irritating cough which as a rule became worse at night. I followed all the doctor's instructions and in a week I was cured. It was a real pleasure to fell strong and healthy again. Really, all is well, that ends well.

WEATHER

The weather is a subject we can always talk about. It often changes arid brings cold and heat, sunshine and rain, frost and snow. One day is often unlike the next.

In summer the sun shines, often there is no wind and there are no clouds in the sky which is blue and beautiful. We can see stars and the moon at night and people like walks, outdoor games and sports in the fresh air.

When autumn comes, the days become shorter and colder. It gets dark earlier and often heavy clouds cover the sky bringing rain with them. Sometimes there is heavy rain, so that an umbrella or a raincoat is necessary if we don't want to get wet through. Then you can hear people say, "What bad weather! When is this rain going to stop?" Many people then catch cold and must go to bed. Then a fire at home is so pleasant.

At last frost and snow come. Fields, forests and houses are covered with snow and rivers and lakes with ice.

But spring again brings sunshine and warm winds. Sometimes it snows but snow will not remain long, it will melt in the warm sun." Spring will bring bright sunshine, green grass and flowers.

We usually say: "A nice day", "Not a bad day" or "It's nice weather for the time of the year" if the weather is fine. We can say: "It looks like rain", "It looks like snow" or "It's bad weather" when the weather is bad.


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