Saturday, March 8, 2014

Blog #4 - Barbara

Barbara Peanh

This past week was my last week participating in the "Be Green" challenge. I was able to control my temptations this time around and did not buy anything. Honestly, this challenge tested more than my patience and it really was a great experience which allowed me to put myself in a semi-vulnerable position. Although I gave in during the third week, doing this challenge made me more aware of everything I was doing concerning "buying." I think being able to constantly check and remind myself whether or not I need certain things has resonated in me and I've developed a new habit. I am going to try my hardest to manage my consumer spending habits from this day forth and will consciously make an effort to stop falling in love with "things." Continuing the challenge will also help me quit my hoarder tendencies.

This week in class we covered teen's influence in Japanese style and culture and how teen's have turned certain style's such as "kawaii" as a marketing tool. Kawaii is considered all things cute including cute goods, services, cute clothes, and the mere presence of acting "cute" by faking of childish behavior and innocent looks according to Kinsella, as noted by Kawamura in her article "Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion" (p. 795). Many girls who appropriate themselves with this kawaii style can't fully describe or define it themselves aside from the fact that it is a feeling and having an immediate reaction to all things cute such as puppies, bright colored objects, floral arrangements, and maybe even babies. Japanese teens are hired by companies to be stylists, designers, marketers, and sales girls in order to establish and market all things that are kawaii.

I think girls adopt this kawaii style and buy into trinkets and things that are cute because it makes them nostalgic about their childhood and because the child in us is still present despite the fact that we're growing older. By marketing items that reach the void and remind us of our childhood, we buy these items to express ourselves in such a way. My way of dealing with this "kawaii" style is by buying very decorated, cute stationary, cards, notebooks and pens. For example, I would buy a notebook that has Hello Kitty or something Disney related on it versus a plain notebook. I don't think that doing this makes me cute, but it definitely makes me feel like a kid again, which is why so many girls still collect Hello Kitty, or animated items that were the biggest trends when we were younger.

This "kawaii-ness" that has developed into adulthood can be defined as "re-juvenilization." Christopher Nixon defines re-juvenilization as "a new breed of adult, identified by a commitment to remain playful, energetic and fun in the face of adult responsibilities. This new band of grownups refuses to give up childish things they never stopped loving, or else revels in things they were denied or never got around to as children" (Post Bubble Culture). Companies market and expand on this new concept of re-juvenilization because they know adults who can afford to consume will give in to buy all of these goods that remind them of their childhood. For example, with Sanrio, Hello Kitty is branded in many ways. There is a Hello Kitty restaurant, a Hello Kitty nursery/ playstation in the Taiwan airport, Hello Kitty toasters and microwaves, and it has gone as far as having a Hello Kitty condominium.

By having young teens such as the Japanese young girls who establish these new styles or reinvent past trends, it brings a lot of business and allow people to identify with their more childish sides by being "kawaii" with nostalgic goods. Although we might not take kawaii to the extreme or extent of Japan's kawaii culture, we all adopt this style and practice in our own way.

The Hello Kitty waiting area for kids at airport in Taiwan - I have been here and it made my wait more pleasant.
obnoxiously cute phone jewelry/accessories

Inside source:
Kawamura, Y. "Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion: Kawaii as a Marketing Tool." Page 795. Reader.

Outside Source:
Shannon. " Hello Couture Kitty! Sanrio Kawaii as "Re-juvenilization." Post Bubble Culture. Retrieved from

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