A few weeks ago I was discussing Japanese “cuteness” with Rachel at a small cafe in Tokyo. While there, the topic of acceptance of cute things in Japanese society came up.
I never thought about it, but it’s something I think I enjoy. And I’m not talking about girls, guys, or things like that. I’m talking about mascots, characters, icons, etc. A perfect example is 豆しば (Mameshiba) seen in the picture above.
Mameshiba is a cute bean (literally a bean) that pops up in the most bizarre times to instill some random knowledge on its listeners. Check the video below for a collection of commercials featuring him.. her… it?
The ability–perhaps freedom is a better word–to show off, wear, or display these cute things in society without ridicule is fun. It’s not uncommon to see a businessman in a $1,000 suit with a small strap dangling off his phone or briefcase that holds a character from One Piece or something similar.
So what is that thing in the first picture? Well, it’s Mameshiba, obviously, attached to my phone. My phone doesn’t have a place to attach a cell phone strap, so instead it’s a small plug that fits into the headphone jack.