Is it Cute?

curry rice

Japan has a love affair with "cute". It's actually known as Kawaii (かわいい) and it's all over the place! And now you can apparently eat cute food too! This is usually only for girls. BUT there is also a boy's fashion that buys into this kawaiilook. However, I have never seen boys taking selfies and having them doctored up to "look cute" with comic book eyes. In moderation I think it can be attractive in girls but taken to extremes it's worse than silly. And taken in another direction is becomes perverted into nothing less than blatant sexuality. 

The style is well documented as a particularly Japanese contribution to the world. I think Japan is among the only places where 30 year old women wear Hello Kitty accessories. The thing is, in Tokyo you can easily find girls who actually dress up like this and walk around 

little girl

wide eyes

shopping or eating out. No one seems to notice or to pay attention to them. They work hard to cultivate what they seem to think of as an innocent, sweet little girl "look". 

pink bunniesAnd it's not just girls fashion. This style is found everywhere! It is all over department stores and in magazines, on television and in this picture you can see that it has even found its way into construction barriers! Elements of "cute" can be seen in every corner of Japanese society. There are some aspects of "cute" that have made there way to men's fashion! They often have died their hair and keep it very carefully worked up into a "messy" look that is crafted by professionals. They also sometimes have their hands manicured too.

Another facet of Japan that has been influenced by this obsession with cute is food. It's really incredible what people will do with food when they can. Creative (and energetic) mothers provide cute bento boxes for their children's lunch and what they do with cafe latte art is . . . well . . . over the top!!  

The cute food thing has gone much further than I will show you here. And to be fair, it's not everywhere. I have never been served food that is presented in this cute way. But I live in an out of the way town -- a couple of hours away from Tokyo where most of this is. But nevertheless, it's here and it's not going away any time soon. Let's enjoy it and just put up with it and sigh when the "cute" girls walk by!!