Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blogger Contemplates Japan's Elevation Of "Cute" Aesthetic

The envelope was sealed with Winnie the Pooh tape adding to the cuteness.
I've had a Japanese pen-pal for 26 years. I actually got to know Yukari a bit when we were at college together. We also met for a few hours in Taiwan in the 1990s.

I value the peek into her life and Japanese culture I get when we exchange greetings several times a year.

I understand that in general Japanese society delights in the aesthetic of cute animals and babies with big eyes. This is certainly true with Yukari.

My not knowing what this signifies makes me self-conscious when choosing postage stamps and small gifts to send her. I like modern designs, rather than sentimental, and the stamps I use for packages to her include rock stars, cowboys, muscle cars, and important legislation.

I like to imagine what she thinks of my packages. I think she looks at my handwriting, disbelieving I live a life as a capable adult. I also suspect I lack the grace of nifty presentation in her eyes -- all of Yukari's greetings, no matter how small, are layered with each surface decorated and personalized.

I am influenced by her precision, but end up just being myself. I like the looser, non-conformist aesthetics of the American West.

Vive la différence!

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