Cute

Me: Japan?

Japan: Yes?

Me: Why is everything cute?

Japan: What do you mean?

Me: Well, everything is cute.

Japan: Everything?

Me: Pretty much, yeah. You seem to be obsessed with cuteness.

Japan: Such as?

Me: Practically everything. Your food is cute. Cute slices of cute coloured fish on cute balls of rice. Your cars are cute. Little cute boxes zooming everywhere. Your gadgets are cute. All miniature handheld electronic stuff. I’ve seen tiny cute cans of beer, dogs with cute ribbons on their heads, cute kids playing little league baseball on a cute green field next to a cute river lined with cute looking houses or big apartment blocks filled with dinky rooms with cute clothes drying on a cute sized balcony. Your old people are cute. Your women are cute and –

Japan: Hey, stay away from my women.

Me: Sorry but it’s true. And some of your men are cute.

Japan: ….?

Me: Not like that. I mean they wear funny hats and green shoes and smile all the time. You love cute. Cute phone accessories. Cute clothes. Cute cartoons. I’ve been to pork bbq restaurants that have cute cartoon pigs dancing around the menu as if to reassure the customer that the pig rearing, slaughter, butchering, cooking and eating process has some kind of intrinsic level of cuteness. I’ve seen warning signs for train doors, high voltage electric and rock falls all communicated to me through the power of a smiling cute cartoon character with a speech bubble. You can even make danger seem cute.

Japan: I like cute.

Me: And people describe things as cute all the time. The default reaction to almost anything is “kawaii” which must be said in a cute sounding voice. Look, I bought a new coat. “Kawaii!” Look, I’m a child. “Kawaii!” Look, this is an animal. “Kawaii!” Look, I just set fire to your shoes. “Kawaii!” Why is everything in a continual state of cuteness?

Japan: Well, not everything. Sumo wrestlers aren’t cute. Try eating a bowl of hot spicy noodles and look cute. Rush hour on the Yamanote line is decidedly uncute.

Me: But those seem to be exceptions to the rule. Most things have to be cute. It’s just natural to you somehow.

Japan: I guess it’s because we’re not big, loud people so we like everything else to be not big and not loud. We like cute because it suits us. Something a bit modest in size and good looking. Anyway, you’re cute.

Me: …..?

Japan: Not like that. You’re western. That’s cute.

Me: But are westerners all “modest in size and good looking”?

Japan: Not really but it doesn’t matter. Westerners are cute. That’s just how it works.

Me: I’m confused.

Japan: If you want to have conversations with me, get used to it.

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January 1, 2012. Uncategorized.

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