I, by chance, happened to be twittering one day and stumbled upon one of my followers who ran a very colorful Asian themed blog. After exploring through her blog archives a bit I soon realized Samantha a.k.a. Pet Sugar was the first person I wanted to feature in my new column. Her goal? To inspire pride in those with Asian backgrounds. More importantly, she just wants people to tell their ethnicities with extreme enthusiasm, and without hesitation. This blog has everything you need, from fashion, to art, to food ideas, to general lifestyle & culture. I jumped at the opportunity to interview Sam to pick her brain. Read on to view the full interview!
I am very excited to interview another Asian themed blogger! Tell my readers about Drop Dead Kawaii. What were the goals in establishing the site?
Sam: All of the male fantasy that Japan has capitalized on is no secret by now (mouse pads with breasts as wrist support etc…). I had to find a way to incorporate all the Japanese arts that seem to sing to FEMALE self-indulgence. The secret indulgences of females are paid equal tribute to and often equally shameful. Art that never fails to be “pretty” and girl-centric, teen romances where they actually have SEX and more often than not the girl is either a beauty behind those glasses/ not your traditional beauty whose cuteness calls to a male’s protective instincts/ a girl whose bubbly selfless personality alse then calls to a male’s protective insticts. All of these themes find their way into Western culture but not without serious concern. In Japan they manage to turn these sick wants into popular culture. Lets not forget the fusion of cute animals and food in the form of bento boxes and shaped rice in curry. This extreme cuteness is equally part of the girl dream and equally perverse in its self-indulgence. Then there are dessert theme parks and cafes where you can pet bunnies as well as eat bunny shaped foods. All Drop Dead Kawaii does is let girls have what they want and not think too hard about the implications. Lets not assume all girls like these things, but a hell of a lot of them do. I guess at the end of the day the culture suggests that girls are wanting to stay children yet their sexualities must progress on! I don’t think this is necessarily true for women but the THINGS that come from this philosophy are really great to look at and make me warm all over.
How do you think Asian culture has contributed to the promotion of cultural arts?
Sam: Someone basically said Japan’s quality of products are due to the country having no natural resources. That’s not all there is to it, clearly, but its as though the country is deperate to hit so many nerves with their “things“. Everything is so saturated with everything anyone could ever ask for! Its no wonder the world has become obsessed. The beauty of this is people are now realizing everything you could ever hope for has already been created… somewhere. Art, movies, food, fashion, books. Japan is so masterful with each. This question is about culture but the culture is so much about the mastery of “wants.” How can you not find the most incredible movie you’ve ever seen and it be Japanese and not immediately look to the rest of the world and wonder what else is there. If you can eat raw fish and it be Godly, how can your mind not open? I mean the “things” we love so much that Japan has given us are not necessarily challenging us to broaden our cultural horizons, but they are certainly pushing us slowly.
Your guest blogger happens to double as an artist as well. Give us some insight on your artwork. Do you pull any Asian influences into your work?
The Little Bukowski: My artwork comes from this little soft spot I’ve still got left over from my childhood. I think most women sort of lose that warm fuzzy space about the same time they lose their baby fat. It’s this inner thing that causes little girls to love kittens, their dads, coloring books and for some reason I happened to keep that part of my guts. But since I’m an adult and expected to be responsible and rational, I have to find an outlet to channel this into…so the most appropriate thing to do is call it “art“.
In actuality, all it really is, is my true self. So it’s really nice when someone like Sam (of drop dead cute/kawaii) stumbles upon my work and recognizes and embraces it as an external expression of a semi -awkward, completely sentimental girl. And yes, I do think my art incorporates some of the same qualities of Asian culture. I have a deep appreciation for old things, things that have seen a lot of life and been handled, whether in a gentle or abusive manner. I regard antiques the way the Asian culture regards their elders. A lot of my pieces have this underlying feeling of something you might find in a museum, something that collected dust, but then I get my tiny girl paws on it and meld it into something, let’s say, a unicorn might adopt as its next of kin.
We know you are big into fashion, and food, but how about Asian films? Do you have any favorites?
Sam: How can a girl in my position, with my knowledge of Japan, not happen upon Studio Ghibli. Now how can any thoughtful person not fall under the Hayao Miyazaki spell? I can’t even talk about how fantastic those movies are because so many people have done a better job saying it. All I know is each one of those movies has changed my life and made me happy to be alive. Sometimes briliance, creativity, thoughtfulness and all that Hayao Miyazaki expresses is the only thing that I like about this world. I absolutely LOVE Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams if I’m forced to talk about any other Asian film. Yet another brilliant movie that touches my core and makes real the human experience.
Asian Americans as a whole have done pretty well occupationally and economically but in many ways, are still not perceived to be “leaders.” What do you think needs to happen for Asian fashion to become more mainstream here in America?
Sam: I honestly wonder sometimes if it is just a matter of sizing. I shop for Asian clothing online and its one size fits all who are of Asian body type. The clothing is designed for women who are perfect canvases for artistic expression. Its those same curves that could be why the rest of the world is not as eager to be so expressive with fashions. Serious alternative fashion trends are so hard to plant in western culture. Japan seems to have new trends blossoming every month. The U.S. can barely make claim to a watered-down gothic, punk, and whatever else scenes. It is a true enigma!
Any advice for anyone looking to start a blog surrounding the Asian culture topic?
Sam: It is okay to have an opinion on Asian cultural topics even if you are not Asian. In fact that is required of all blogs: an opinion. That opinion can even come forth in just filtering through things you actually LIKE. If I don’t like something I won’t post it, I don’t care if it fits my theme. My favorite blogs on Asian culture give the sense of an insider’s perspective. A great example of that is “An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla” (http://patrickmacias.blogs.com/). I’m certainly far from being an authority on the subject of Asian blogs. All I know is the continent is vast and no one is expecting a taste of an entire continent. Who wants that? Here is my blog on North America teehee. Somehow a true passion should be present and hopefully that translates to a theme that people can perceive immediately. As elementary as this advice is, please have the theme be obvious in your title/URL!
Many thanks goes out to Sam & her website. If you’d like to get in contact with her or see what she & her guest blogger have to offer the world, follow their cookie crumb trail:
Tune in next week for Episode #2!