Despite my fondness for some of the more obvious girly-girly
things (Barbies, pink sparkles, teen romance novels), I've
never been into Sanrio crap. You
know... Hello Kitty? Yeah. When it first hit my elementary
school, back in the seventies, all the Popular Girls were
sporting pink-and-red Hello Kitty pencils and cases and erasers
that smelled like bubble gum. I turned up my nose. Partially
it was because I had a perverse desire to disparage everything
the Popular Girls, who tormented me mercilessly, liked. A
smaller part was because I couldn't afford all the Hello Kitty
accouterments in order to take part in such pre-teen obsessions.
But mostly, it just plain didn't appeal to me. Even though
I wore ruffly dresses and sponge-curled my hair into Nellie
Oleson ringlets every day, Hello Kitty was just too, too cutesy-poo.
Some fifteen years later, Riot Grrls everywhere were sporting
the Sanrio stuff
and not just Hello Kitty. I had friends
who dug Pekkle, friends who gooned over Chococat, friends
who filled office cubes with Batz Maru stuff. Eh, whatever
floats their boats, y'know? Even when those funny, bug-eyed,
too-cute cartoons went from being "You know, those kinda
weird looking cartoons, like old Speed Racer and stuff?"
to the more dignified (and mainstream) "Japanime,"
I still didn't get the fuss.
Not until last weekend. Not until my trip to LA's Chinatown
with one of my Dorky Duranie Friends.
and I made the trek to Broadway and College just the weekend
before, when I had the Slumber Party From Hell with assorted
Duranies and Mediaramans. We all had a jolly time, scooping
up silk change purses and Happy Lucky Cats and bedroom slippers
and other such touristy fare. In fact, we had so much fun
that Par and I decided to come back the following weekend
for Dim Sum.
Perhaps appropriately, our lunch conversation centered on
Asian-English language barriers,
everything from problems my Asian English 100 students have
with a language that makes NO sense at all to Par's Adventures
in Translating on the TV show she works on. After stuffing
ourselves on pork rolls and shrimp things (and after our conversation
had degenerating from Real Language Issues to "bite
the wax tadpole!") we wandered into a little
store next to the restaurant.
At first glance, it looked like Just Another Japanime store.
The usual Hello Kitty fare. Chococat. Some dog-creature called
AfroKen. Hmm. Okay.
some reason, as we browsed, I was taken by a grinning, slitty-eyed
little doll named Pucca, and, in my ever-reaching quest for
Stuffed Racial Stereotypes, I picked her up. Something about
her greatly amused me. Maybe her hair. Maybe her boyfriend.
But what really clinched it was the tag line, to wit:
"A Funny lovestory of the tomboy Pucca and her eternal
love, Garu." Oh, that tickled me! I grabbed not only
the little stuffed doll Pucca, but a package of Pucca pencils
as well. And to my delight
on the back of the box
detailed instructions on how to use the pencil! Me and Par
giggled our tushies off. Subversion? Bad language translations?
Socio-racial commentary? Raw stupidity? Sheer brilliance?
All of the above!