Friday, September 27, 2013

The World vs. Asia's Cute Culture

My Opinion:

"little understood in the West" sounds like a cop-out. An excuse to justify that a different culture might dislike or have a neutral opinion on something. I still think it's all about the design and how it matters to many people, especially those who do not live in Asia. It's not just IN America-- it's all over the globe like Australia and Europe! It's popular in Asia because the kawaii phenomenon is integrated into their beliefs and culture.

For the rest of the article, please click the link below. I've only highlighted the parts of the article that interest me.

Taiwan Today : Taiwan's Culture of Cute

Publication Date:09/29/2013
By Steve Hands

Cute things and phenomena are constantly in the news in Taiwan. The nation has recently witnessed the birth of a giant panda cub, the giant Rubber Duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman is floating in Kaohsiung City harbor and EVA Airways has just added a further Hello Kitty route to Los Angeles. Not to mention a steady release of cute mobile phones, tablets, laptops and just about any other consumer product imaginable.
The obsession with cute is a huge East Asian phenomenon, little understood in the West, and what many Westerners find most surprising is that not just young girls, but ostensibly sensible adults, are smitten with the bug and have large amounts of cash to drop on their hobby. The pink pound might be about gay purchasing power in the U.K., but in Japan the pink yen is mostly about Hello Kitty.
Caroline Favier, a Dutch toy collector whose extensive collection contains hundreds of curios from the region, might be expected to be readier than most to sympathize.
“Like most Westerners I don’t like cute,” Favier said in an online interview. “Actually, I like classic and tacky. I remember I couldn’t believe the first time I saw a 40-year old secretary’s Hello Kitty collection on her desk, and that was allowed in an office environment! It looked so unprofessional.”
But in Taiwan the young-at-heart like to buy cute things, irrespective of seniority. “My customers are of all ages, but mostly students, as this store is right by National Taiwan University,” Carolyn Lin, manager of a Non-no fashion accessories store in Taipei City’s Gongguan District, told Taiwan Today. “But we also get people in their 40s and adults bringing in their kids.”
Asked why people buy socks and apparel emblazoned with all manner of cartoon images, domestic and international, Lin seemed slightly dumbfounded, as if cuteness was so ubiquitous as to be beyond need of explanation. “They’re necessities. They just like the products because they’re fashionable.”
The phenomenon is so well-established that academics have taken an interest in cute mania, or ke’ai as it is known in Taiwan. What started in Japan with Hello Kitty has turned into a multibillion dollar global industry, which everyone from sociologists to psychiatrists is trying to understand.
“Ke’ai is a Chinese term that simply means loveable, and has a very long history,” Teri J. Silvio, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Ethnology in Taipei City-based Academia Sinica, told Taiwan Today in an email interview. Silvio has a huge collection of dolls, puppets and other figurines, as well as it being a serious research interest.
“The concept of lovability is probably universal. Anything that people feel positive about, in any way, can be ke’ai. In Taiwan today, ke’ai is often used to translate the Japanese term kawaii and the English cute. All of these terms have slightly different ranges of meaning.” 

Naturally, academic discourse has focused on the situation in Japan, where ke’ai culture began to take off in the 1970s. “There are many different explanations for why the kawaii aesthetic is so popular in Japan,” Silvio said. “Because kawaii products are most popular with young women, one explanation is that it reflects the sexist structure of Japanese culture, where women are expected to be weak and men to take care of them.”
However, Taiwan’s culture is far less sexist than Japan’s, so other arguments appear more pertinent to local conditions. “Others argue that the exaggeration of the kawaii style expresses dissatisfaction with the rigidity of adult gender roles,” Silvio added. “Many people in the popular culture industries argue that kawaii style is popular because it is comforting. Kawaii objects provide a kind of respite and healing from the competition and struggles of daily life in the contemporary world.”
The explosion in popularity of ke’ai also appears to have a demographic and material basis. Japan’s kawaii culture coincided with the huge increase in the number of young single women, often still living at home as real estate prices shot through the roof, but with large disposable incomes. Taiwan’s own demographic changes followed hot on Japan’s heels.

Continued here...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sanrio Addiction Dictionary

As you know, I'm Level 5, an Addict. Remember, there are 5 levels of a Sanrio Addiction. For the graph above, Stalkers are in it's very own category. Seriously. You just don't want to go there.

Anyhoo, let me explain the graph above in simpler terms:

WE ARE THE FANS-- no matter the levels

Fans are the starting point to everything...

As FANS aka Wanderers-- We start here before going down our journey of Addiction levels. Fans are a more broader term that is often used to describe us. Fans are not defined as one thing or put in a square box to categorize as one meaning. Fans consist of Collectors and Enthusiasts.

Then, what is the difference between the graphic chart and Addiction levels that you ask?

The Addiction Levels goes into more details on your journey of obsession, while the graph chart is another way of showing of how every level is connected and can give birth to a new group within a circle. The journey keeps growing. It also shows which group is larger than the other.

Graph = type of groups  /  Levels = journey of levels

FANS > Enthusiasts & Collectors

 Enthusiasts aka Gypsy are solar opposites from Collectors aka Addict (5th Level), but are the largest two birthed from the first level, Fans (Wanderers).
they give birth to Casual fans aka Fan, a sub-group that is a level above them. Enthusiasts are more larger than Casual fans because they are in love with Sanrio, but they either do not have the resources to take a step further into an advanced group level or are not willing to put Sanrio as a priority. Whatever obstacles they face as Gypsies, they love to chat and fantasize about the kawaii world of Sanrio. They are also always on the lookout for free stuff and discounts from Sanrio. They don't have a big collection of sorts.

Collectors aka Addict is the last advanced group and have the same size group with Enthusiasts.
they give birth to Addict fans aka Eccentric, a sub-group that is a level above them. Collectors are more larger than Addict fans because Sanrio is now everywhere, meaning that more Enthusiasts are switching sides to Collectors. World domination endgame is in progress. Are you ready for it, addicts?

Casual Fans < Enthusiasts

Casual fans aka Fan are a sub-group of Enthusiasts and is smaller of the two. There are less fans within this sub-group because they are aware of Hello Kitty, but not too familiar with other Sanrio characters. In essence, they are peeking into the magical world of Sanrio from the outside reality. They probably own one or two Sanrio shirts or pajamas. More likely gifts from friends and family.

Addict Fans < Collectors

Addict fans aka Eccentrics are a sub-group of Collectors and is smaller of the two. There are less fans within this sub-group because they are not ready to have the obsession take over their lives. They have a neat amount of collection so far to show off. Although, all aspects of the addiction is still in control. They still listen to their enablers, not like you know who...

Here's THE List

  1. Wanderer = Fans
  2. Fan = Casual fans
  3. Gypsy = Enthusiasts
  4. Eccentric = Addict fans
  5. Addicts = Collectors

And lastly, there are Stalkers aka the Three S's --  all lonely by it's own separate category from the levels of addiction. It's off the grid because this group of stalkers are dangerous. Gasp! You don't say!

Surely, you don't think I am kidding regarding this group. They don't follow the rules in the magical world of Sanrio. They are more crafty and more stealthy. It's why everything is hush-hush and top secret. They have a secret agenda, which no ones knows about, but themselves. Like I said, there's a reason why this group is to be avoided. You've been warned for the last time.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Spot a Fake Sanrio Addict

Regarding the Singapore scalper incident, I have noticed that these people wanting to make a quick buck on the side would go and stalk sites that they know Sanrio addicts would visit. On Hello Kitty Junkies social network, they'd open an account and pretend to be a Sanrio fan, while promoting their store. It's not genuine if they can't back it up and show that they are a true collector. Sure, there are casual fans out there, but that's why this article is not about those kind of fans. We're talking about pretending to be a collector while reviewing a Sanrio product or impersonating as a collector fan.                                                                     


1.  Starts with "I'm not a big fan of Hello Kitty..."
     Noticing a lot of similar comments stating this yet? Ever thought this was not a paid reviewer, scalper, or fan?

2.  Showing off a few figurines or plushes with a comment like: "Just some of my Hello Kitty
     This is a beginning indicator that they do not have any more Hello Kitty collections, along with a recent joined date. Do they have any other social media that showcases their many collection as they claim to have?

3.  ALL photos are showing off stock and/or personal photos that you know does not belong to
     This is a fake account or someone trying to pretend to be a so-called addict
4.   They know little to no knowledge of Sanrio's background. 
      If they think Sanrio is from China - well, be suspicious.   

5.   On their profile page, they have more photos of what they are selling than Sanrio related products that they bought in the past
      You should ask what is their purpose in stalking Sanrio related sites or searches with Sanrio 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Peek Into the Future" Wishlist

This might be a superfluous post, but I'm going to bring up a question that has nothing to do with my obsession with Sanrio, but yet at the same time-- it sorta does in a way.

Would You Be Able to Move to Another Planet?

For one thing if you have cable and watched all the "colonial pioneer settlement" documentaries, then you know there is a government project wanting to colonize a planet like Mars.

Here is their Mission Statement:
It is Mars One's goal to establish a human settlement on Mars.

Human settlement of Mars is the next giant leap for humankind. Exploring the solar system as a united humanity will bring us all closer together.
Mars is the stepping stone of the human race on its voyage into the universe. Human settlement on Mars will aid our understanding of the origins of the solar system, the origins of life and our place in the universe. As with the Apollo Moon landings, a human mission to Mars will inspire generations to believe that all things are possible, anything can be achieved.

The Project sounds thrilling and exciting for those who'd want a change in their everyday ordinary lives, but think about it-- this is for life, addicts! Immediately, I wanted to sign up, but then reality set in as my gaze fell upon my Hello Kitty plushes. Could you possibly give up on the addiction called Sanrio?

You literally would have to give up the idea of collecting Sanrio if you want to move to Mars. Could you give up on getting the latest Sanrio fashion handbags or the touch of a soft yet delicate plush? Well, I'm here to burst your fantasy bubble because if I didn't do it, who would save you from committing the worst mistake of your life? I have a duty to Sanrio to protect the numbers of collectors from falling to zero! ;p

Let me reiterate this again -- you'd have to give up your world of cuteness because everything on Mars emphasizes of living in close proximity and limited space for storage and communal housing. Remember, this is in the early stages of trials and errors before people can comfortably live underground on Mars.

If the colonization project is successful, it would take probably more than a decade to see progress like Sanrio opening a franchise in the bottom tunnels of Mars. I kid you not. My mind goes that far and beyond. I see the future with me owning a half-alive robotic Sanrio character pet. I can see that happening before I die, but not the Sanrio franchise store opening on a different planet. Sadly, not in my lifetime-- unless I reincarnate later in life, but that's another story to discuss about in the far future.