Have a Heart, Online: Valentine's Day Gifts, Cards and FlowersIn Korea, there isn't just one Valentine's Day. Being a poetically inclined society, and one that increasingly holds romantic love in high esteem, there are two days when it's traditional to express your undying affection － Valentine's Day proper on Wednesday, and White Day, on March 14. For those who haven't yet found a suitable object, there's even a third day just for you to commiserate, or perhaps celebrate － Black Day, on April 14.
Here are some Web sites you might find handy if you need to make a last-minute proclamation, want to keep someone guessing from the anonymous safety of the Net, or just want to wallow in singledom.
This site is an excellent place to start － especially if you're partial to fine chocolates. You can go the calorie-free route, by perusing the chocolate quotes, downloading chocolate wallpaper or by sending a sensual, virtual chocolate card. Unfortunately, the providers require you to submit an e-mail address when you send one of their images, so if you want to remain anonymous, you'll have to be creative with your address.
If you're ready to get serious, check out their "Chocolate Locator." This section allows you to find a chocolate supplier that delivers to your country. Selecting randomly, I was taken to http://marketplace.xtra.co.nz/cgi-bin/deSpa.storefront, an outlet in New Zealand. Here I could order, for example, a box of eight chocolates plus overseas shipping to Korea for NZ$30 - that's about $13 or 16,000 won.
A brilliant place to stop for cards. They have an abundance to choose from, including humorous ones, and you can personalize your card by selecting fonts, background colors and accompanying tunes. However, if you don't want to regale your lover with the sounds of Aqua's "Barbie Girl," get really creative and send a voice message to accompany the card. It's easy － all you need is a mike, Mediaring Viozcard Player (which you can download from the site) and some privacy － best not try this in the Net cafe. Let the passion flow － but remember, you're on tape!
About the best-designed and cheapest flower service Web site that delivers in Korea. You can get blooms from $39 all-inclusive and you can create your own custom bouquet for $75 upward. If you're feeling very expansive, you can even order a bottle of bubbly ($19) to go with the flowers. Don't worry about hidden costs － the price you see is the price you pay.
There are other flower delivery sites to try, such as www.flowerkorea.com and www.youngflower.com, but I encountered the problems often associated with unkempt English-language versions of Korean sites like these － broken links, drop-down menu options that go nowhere, and so on.
Finally, a site for those with nothing better to do on Valentine's Day than play silly games like this one, "Super Cupid." As Cupid, you win a quiver of 10 arrows with each romance quiz question you get right. Once you're on the Romance Range, try to pierce as many of the floating hearts as possible.
Aside from the entertainment value of the game, which admittedly runs thin after your third round, the hearts make a satisfying deflating sound when you hit them － reminding you that it's all so much hot air...
by Rebecca Branford