I actually have a lot of articles planned right now, all lying dormant due to a momentary dip in language-studying momentum and real-life happenings. Yet all those things pale in face of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami which has rocked northern Japan.
In February, Jun Seba passed away — accidentally, in a car accident (caused by an earthquake?). Most people didn’t know until about a month later. People like you and me knew him as Nujabes, and perhaps started listening to his music more after seeing Samurai Champloo for the first time. For everyone, it was amazingly sad; you’re never prepared to hear about someone with influence in your life, someone still so young, just up and leaving this world, and you’re never sure what to do afterward. You don’t think of such people as invincible, but you do think things like “someday I may meet them, even briefly.”
News about this is EVERYWHERE. Takeru Kobayashi, famous Japanese hot-dog-eater, wasn’t allowed to eat in this year’s Coney Island Fourth of July hot dog eating contest! According to THE NEWS, it’s because he refused to sign an exclusivity contract with Major League Eating, the major leagues of eating contests…because there’s more than one, apparently.
Kawaii is more than just a word meaning “cute” to be thrown around by 14-year-old manga fans on deviantArt. In Japan, it’s an entire culture, one that has captured the hearts of many and slowly creeped its way westwards to claim others as well. Good thing, too: I’m weak to adorable and tiny things. Very weak.
Japan has pretty much cornered the market on cute. And since Japan appointed a cartoon ambassador of anime last year, it stands to reason that the next step would be appointing (non-cartoon) ambassadors of cuteness.