My time in Japan was introduced by men in pastel pink and turquoise jumpsuits waving at planes in the airport. I had never seen such cute men in such cute jumpsuits before. I realized before I set foot on their soil that cuteness was not just for the Sanrio store, but was a way of life. After living there for a few years as a twenty-something I came to see the dark and the light of things, all washed over with sweet adorable glaze of Kawaii, that actually made me more angry, but forced me to be more ladylike and care for my nails, to not trust American news sources and to pretend to be having fun when you are really fucking tired.
I was a novelty there which some people viewed as a living doll on a good weird day, or an awkward moment on the days that I got all American again and forgot to shave my legs or forced the kid who very quietly stole my bike to give up the the damn bike, very politely, and I think we even bowed, it just felt right. I was not cute then, but foreign as hell. But even the bike stealing incident, which happened one might add, after the bike was left outside unlocked for 4 MONTHS, I couldn’t help but think it was cute. The boy with a girl stole the bike, she rode on the handle bars to the grocery store down the street, I was waiting for them when they came out. Might have even let them keep it, that’s what many a polite and adorable person might do, to not cause trouble, but I kind of needed the bike to get somewhere, and was shocked, shocked that they would do it. People just didn’t steal there. They might place a cute sticker in the basket but that is the most extreme of expectations.