Posts tagged ‘Japan’

Play with your food.

Speaking of my affinity for all things cute, I received a book called Face Food as a gift from my brother. It’s filled with photos of charaben— Japanese character bento boxes. The time and effort that went into creating these edible works of art is awe-inspiring. Here are a few of my favorites:

Wouldn’t you like to see Piglet doing a jig for you when you opened your lunch?

Mr. Strawberry looks rather distinguished, no?

When traveling around Japan to take photographs for his book, Christopher D. Salyers spoke with the creators of the charaben (mostly mothers of young children.) Most of these women told Salyers that their charaben were not meant to be art. Rather, the charaben were created to encourage their children to eat well, to help them to become more popular, and for the enjoyment the characters would bring to them at lunchtime.

The three little pigs appear to have eyes made of poppy seeds. Imagine the time and patience it took to perfectly place each eye, each ear, each snout. Ah, the things we do in pursuit of cute.

June 29, 2008 at 8:22 pm 2 comments

The New Cute

Thanks to One Red Robin for drawing my attention to this article about “new cute” aesthetic: check it out here.

I’ve always been drawn to cute things. In college, I carried around what little money I had in a plastic Keroppi wallet. I was in my early twenties then, and I probably figured that it was something I would, or should, grow out of.

While living in Japan in my mid-twenties, I was introduced to a culture in which it is very common and completely acceptable for grown adults to revel in a level of cuteness previously reserved for the toddler set. In Japan, cuteness is absolutely everywhere you look. A sign on a subway train may inform you that you are in a non-smoking car, but chances are it will be a gentle reminder coming from a cartoon cat. Check out the mascot for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police:

“Obey the laws, or I’ll wink at you and giggle!”

In the picture below I am posing with the Onibaba, an evil witch rumored to inhabit the mountains in the town where I lived.  When she gets hungry, she lures children into caves and eats them alive. If you can look past the horns and the sharp teeth, she’s pretty cute, don’t you think? That’s how she gets you.

Cute is definitely in, and it’s not just for the Japanese any more! The article above discusses the trend in Australia, but I certainly see it here in the US as well, and I’m all for it. The next time I blog, I’ll show you what happens when the new cute makes its way into your lunchbox. Come hungry.

June 10, 2008 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

Hooray for felt!

I am loving wool felt right now– the mottled look of it, the feel, and how easy it is to work with. I’d really like to make something useful with it. When I buy it, I’m thinking, “Wallet? Journal cover? Tote bag?” … but I keep ending up with little monsters…

Don’t call me practical.

Well, this guy does make me smile when I spot him grinning up at me. He reminds me of the time I spent in Japan, where cute little monsters abound. I think I was inspired by Domo-kun, a mascot who I often saw on TV in Japan and who I am now seeing in shops all over the place here in the U.S.

Next time, a change purse!

hakosan.jpg

November 13, 2007 at 11:54 pm 5 comments


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