In case you weren’t aware, we here in the United States are at the end of the quotidian cycle. North America is literally the last continent to say goodbye to a calendar day and we’re also last to greet the new days. This phenomenon is owed to the International Date Line, which demarcates where calendar days start and end. The existence of the International Date Line is also one of the reasons why I suspect that Japan is called “Land of the Rising Sun” – because, according to the International Date Line, they’re one of the first countries to get to sample the new day.
Makes sense, right? Good.
So while tomorrow may be Valentine’s Day for those of us in the West, it’s already Valentine’s Day in Japan. Reinforcing the global significance of Valentine’s Day, Google has given their Japanese page the Google Doodle treatment today with a special animated doodle commemorating the holiday. Upon clicking the Doodle, Tony Bennett’s “Cold, Cold Heart” begins playing over an animation depicting a lovesick lad trying his best to woo a lady with roses and heart boxes of chocolate (among other gifts). Users can click through the animation in order to find news and search results for Valentine’s Day (those results will automatically appear after the animation is over).
What struck me most about this Doodle is the end, which presents a collage of different types of couples. Among them are a milk carton and a cookie, a cat and a dog, and a princess with a frog. Included with these pairs, though, are two depictions of same sex couples: one with two women, and another with two men. Google’s decision to include the two same sex couples with other pairs that are more comical or even fictional (an astronaut with a space alien?) is confusing. Should same sex couples ignore this uncomfortable juxtaposition given that they were even acknowledged at all? I’m not so sure gays and lesbians will take so kindly to their already-marginalized sexuality being regarded as seriously as space alien couplings or cat-and-dog couplings. You can see the two couples in the bottom row of the image below.
It remains to be seen if Google will roll out different Valentine’s Day-inspired Doodles (with different ballads, even?) for different regions of the world, of if this will be the worldwide Doodle for the holiday. Guess we’ll see tomorrow, hm?