Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Speaking "Kawaii"

Last night I was on aim with my sister who is at UCSC right now. At first, I was the only one talking so everything was fine. Once my sister responded, I was so lost & confuse. She is one of those extreme aimers who made up their own lingo. So our entire conversations was filled with her "cute" words such as "tomolooooo" and "kekeke". After 30 mins of not understanding half of what she wrote, I suddenly felt like the Japanese parents who had to deal with their children's new "kawaii" language. I remember when my sister began to use these words, it was a way to hide her conservations from our parents and "by writing in the new cute style, it was almost as though [she] had invented a new language in which they were suddenly able to speak freely" (Kinsella, 224). Thinking back, I feel sorry for the Japanese parents dof that period. I remember my parents felt left out because they did not understand the lingo we used on aim. It was something that was solely for the younger generation and that parents don't belong. I remember it as a form of rebellion against the constant watch of my parents and thought I was doing such a great job at it. Instead, I think it caused our generation gap to expand.

What probably made it was worst was when my sisters began their own fashion and deviated from what my parents thought was "normal" for females. I remember my sisters had jeans that were bleached, ripped, painted, and began bleaching their hair blond or dying it dark purple and red. Like the Japanese females mentioned in Kawamura, 'Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion', my sisters were the consumers. For the first time, high school gave them freedom to consume anything they wanted because of their jobs. It was make up and clothes every weekend and "fashion is of the utmost importance for them because they want to stand out and be noticed" (Kawamura, 787). Consuming became a way for them to rebel against my parents strict Chinese normals because what they bought belong to them. They were in control of their own lifestyles for once and I believe that's probably how Japanese teens felt at that time. By design and consuming a rebel/different fashion culture, they become the leaders of it and finally have the right to control their decisions.

No comments: