Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cute things and Asians it now makes sense

Thanks professor Valverde for the fun and educational class field trip we had. It was a very interesting and enlightening experience; it gave me a lot to think about in terms of art and culture and Shang hai. After the class field trip, I stayed in San Francisco at my cousin's place, where we watched "Ponyo on the Cliffs by the Sea". If anyone hasn't watched it, and enjoys movies by Studio Ghlibi films and Hayao Miyazaki like "Spirited Away" or "Kiki's Devlivery service" or "Howls moving Castle", I highly recommend you do.

I've already seen the movie, but watching it again with my cousin made me realize an element of the movie that I had not really noticed. Throughout the movie she would exclaim how cute Ponyo is. Cute is an element that I've been so accustomed too that I don't really notice when I see it. It's just an integral part to a good movie like "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea." I guess my taste in movies and certain products also reflects a particular culture that I and many Asian Americans in our generation is apart.

In Kinsella's article, she discusses how the term "Kawaii", or cute, has become a movement started by youths; one that personifies childhood, and naivete. This culture around being youthful is something very integral to Asian American culture, because the opposite of cute culture is the constant desire to be an adult(something very American). This dichotomy between the east and west is something I believe all Asian Americans will have to eventually resolve; are you going to adopt the Asian culture and preserve the youthful innocence of childhood (no dating until you get married), or are you going to be like the cool American kids who are adults by the age of 16 (driving wherever you want, dating, drinking, you are cool), or are you going to resolve these two identities and form a mix of both? I believe that these questions are something integral to being Asian Americans and that the diverse answers reflect how varied Asian Americans are.

I find the Cute Fashion very interesting because it reflects how idealized childhood is, even children don't want to become adults. How many times have you encountered a person that reminisces about their childhood? About how great it was back then? Add to this the fact that Childhood is idealized by adults as the critical period in a person's life. Hence why children often become the focus of a political arguments. they are often referred to as the "future"; they are the hopes and dreams of the present. Someone has to think about the Children! Right?

Another thing about Kinsella's article was her description of something cute as baby like, lacking appendages, is around and fluffly, and how the description fitted Ponyo so well. Personally, I think that Ponyo's a freaky chicken fish mermaid, but I can see why some people think she's a cute.

Have a great Lunar new years tomorrow, and great luck for the rest of the year!

Hoa Truong
Blog post #7

In class source: Sharon Kinsella. "Cuties in Japan."
Picture and outside source from :

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