Kawaii (Japanese) Meaning; Cute Romantic.
Whilst Sir Walter Scott took a trip to Stratford Upon Avon, Li, a Business Studies student at Glasgow University was having a road trip with friends to see The Glenfinnan Viaduct. That same year, Kioko, a middle-aged widow was on a flight from Tokyo to Canada. Her mother several years earlier flew from Tokyo to Edinburgh.
Apart from the obvious, they all had something in common; they were on similar missions. They were indulging in what psychologists refer to as parasocial relationships or unilateral relationships. Sir Walter Scott set off to visit the home of his literary hero, Shakespeare. Li, with her friends, had set off to visit the place where Hogwarts Express crossed. Kioko was traveling to visit the home of Anne of Green Gables and her mother, the city where The Bay City Rollers grew up.
I am no exception. One late spring in 2017, my wife and I took a trip to Britain’s Lake District. Whilst there, we decided one day to visit Grasmere; the home where Wordsworth lived and the place that was subject too much of his poetry.
When we arrived, Grasmere was ghostly; absent of any signs of life, despite it being a bright summer morning. We took a stroll round the small village and finally finishing at Wordsworth’s cottage. Suddenly, forty, maybe fifty Indians turned up. They were professors, literature teachers, poets, and literature groupies. Having studied English literature at university, I was intrigued to find out their reasons for leaving Delhi, Kerela, Gujerat and Hyderabad to make this long pilgrimage to visit their much-loved poet.
They were on a tight schedule, but I got chatting to one man from Delhi, a poet. I asked him a question I have often pondered on: Why do we make such trips to visit the source that inspired our loved poets, writers, and characters? I deliberately used the collective noun ‘we’ as I also am afflicted by this psychological phenomenon. However, in our brief discussion, we just danced around the subject, and I walked away feeling the answer was incomplete, unexplored fully.
Many years ago, a Japanese girl was handed a book. A book that would change her life and heavily impact on Japanese culture. It was Anne of Green Gables. It was life changing for the society. Anne was deeply embedded in everything cute, beautiful, and romantic. Characteristics that are deeply embedded in Japanese culture. Go to Japan today and you will find restaurants with girls serving tea with bows in their hair, ankle socks and spotty dresses like they just walked out of The Wizard of Oz movie.
It’s all about para social relationships.