Tuesday, 23 February 2010
God, I wish I was cute. I wish I had the giant doll-like eyes and stunned expression of the moe (meaning literally 'beansprout', implying not a child, not yet a woman) cosplay cutie. Then that could have been me promoting the anime movie `Pretty Cure All Stars DX2 Protect the Rainbow Light Jewel of Hope` (which is the top class in all Jewels of Hope) in Akihabara this week. And I could have won the `gold medal of cute`, just like Beckii Cruel (real name Rebecca Flint, 14) from the Isle of Man who is here doing her cute dances. Cute is big business in Japan. There is a limitless market for cartoon cosplay costumes, Hello Kitty products and amateurish singing and dancing talentos and idoru. The other morning on the train (the same morning it was announced that some supermarket in the UK had banned customers from shopping in their pyjamas)the girl strap-hanging in front of me was wearing teddy bear print pyjamas, a crocheted shawl, carpet slippers, a giant loopy bow in her hair and a pink heart-shaped badge on which was written the words, "Spank me". She was studying for a university entrance exam and carried her notes in a wicker basket. Take that Tesco! But don`t get the idea that all Japan is like this. It`s actually popular with about the same percentage of people who like to dress up little girls in boob tubes and make-up in the UK. It`s the same old story, the objectification of women.
Beckii Cruel is being soundly rubbished by the foreign community here but if she pays off her parents` mortgage and covers her future university fees then why not? And besides we`re all just jealous because we had to get PhD`s and jobs in Fortune 500 companies to come here. However her parents should be aware that the major fans of cute here in Japan are not tweens as in the UK but young and middle-aged men, as you can see from this rather creepy video below. And is Beckii herself aware that the men in the front row are trying to get up-skirt shots on their mobile phones? Not so innocently cute now, huh? On second thoughts, I think I prefer being, as I was apparently voted by a group of my students, `the teacher we were most scared of this year`. Does that award come with a Jewel of Hope?