Kawaii (which means “cute!” and is pronounced just like Hawaii with a ‘K’) was the first Japanese word I learned because Japanese women coo it every time I take Chip out of the house. He might think it’s his name by now. Hopefully we will be back home and he will just be a regular kid again before his head gets too big.

Anyway, I have been weeding through pictures that Rob has taken recently and found that he has well documented the phenomenon of Japanese ladies loving Chip. I thought some of these pictures were funny.

In Yokohama

In Kyoto

In Tokyo (more precisely, in the Tokyo Krispy Kreme--good find, Rob)

At the Hayama Starbucks

I often wonder what my life in Japan would be like without Chip (or any other non-Japanese child). I think 100% fewer people in this very reserved place would approach me, so in that sense it’s been really nice to have him around.

And turnabout is fair play. Emboldened by their unabashed attention, I have started uttering, “Kawaii!” when I see little Japanese babies, especially the ones that look like miniature sumo wrestlers with fuzzy hair which, in my opinion, are just about the cutest things on the planet. I’ve even taken (or asked Rob to take, he usually has the camera in his pocket) a couple of pictures…

In Kyoto, at the Heien Shrine celebrating "7,5,3 day"


Also Kyoto; note the mini Uggs with the Kimono!

Kawaii, ne?

Anyway, there was a funny article about Kawaii in a Vanity Fair a while back. As the article says, “cuteness and social misery seem to be linked.” I don’t think the Japanese are that miserable, really, but their economic woes of the past two decades have been held as a cautionary tale for the U.S. Perhaps we as a nation are just a few months of recession away from hollering “CUTE!” at the little sumo babies who make it to our shores.


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