cute posers (more performativity)
November 1, 2008

I’ve been thinking about and observing social performativities. one of the thinks that caught my attention is the idea of ‘cuteness’, quite an important concept in Japan. to start with, it is what it is. cute means cute. but why I refer to it is because I think in Japan it occupies many spaces: cute is a style, and a way of behaving, a way of singing, a way of designing posters and using furry little mascots in every metro publicity, cute is using drawings instead of pictures, cute is giving characters big eyes and small bodies. in Japan they have words for cute: kawai, moé, and cute itself, of course. in Japan, male escorts (I’m not sure if they are prostitutes all the way) are slender, elegant, dressed and made up, and somehow feminin. my friend Dex says that way they are not threatening. my impression is that in Japan both girls and women generally like to pose as girls. a lot of them walk a clumsy walk, with knees rotated inwards, wearing high heels but constantly tripping over them. I am quite sure it is a fashion (and a sexual stereotype) rather than a generalized postural deficit (and: a fashion that might be rapidly increasing the ammount of women with postural problems). the idea, I suspect, is to look cute.

so, trying to get somewhere from all that ranting, though the whole cute thing doesn’t completely work for me, I am fascinated by how it works in groups, by it’s acceptance (or something like that). I try to be more clear: I think everyone sees it as a pose, but the cool thing (really cool social code?) is that everyone is cool about it. one poses as cute, and another one who poses as something else (we are all posers, right?) celebrates the cuteness of the first one. I find it surprising that different groups or characters don’t seem to define themselves (at least not so much) in opposition or conflict with others… is that very democratic?


October 31, 2008

last night on earth. tomorrow morning I leave Matsuo and Rie’s appartment for the airport, tomorrow mornign surprisingly early for flying at 1 pm. but apparently I need quite some time to get to Ueno train station and catch a train that will take me to Narita. and then, apparently, I am supposed to be there 2 hs before my flight. and on top of that, I want to have breakfast with my hosts, my new family. so much for sleeping over. I will have to get up around 8.

today was a bit of a strange day. yesterday, also, and the past few days. and, actually, the whole last week was also a bit strange. but today I reached the emotional peak, the peak of sadness, and the peak of feeling welcome and extremely happy to be here. today I was considering to stay here, to not show up at the airport, to drop everything and start a new life in Tokyo. ha… well that’s an idea that I’ve been considering for a while, and this trip seemed like the perfect occasion – but to be honest, I didn’t consider the idea very seriously. I just felt very sad this afternoon.

at this point, I want to be back in my appartment. no matter how welcome I’ve felt in the houses of my friends I miss being in my own place. but today it seemed a bit difficult to imagine being back in Amsterdam… what will I do there? or maybe I should refrase: today it seemed a bit difficult to imagine not being in Tokyo.

and then I went out. or, first, I visited Nick and Virginia, my first hosts in Tokyo (very classical form, finishing where one started). Nick and I will do a video project together out of materials from my performance and rehearsals, and we met to exchange tapes and talk, and to say goodbye. I hadn’t seen them for a couple of weeks, but they were a very important support upon my arrival to Metoroporis. I went out, I visited Nick and Virginia, and then visited briefly the Instituto Cervantes which is a potential space for potential future performances in Tokyo. I went out and visited Nick and Virginia, and Cervantes, and then came back home (I feel a bit embarrased and a bit proud of calling Matsuo and Rie’s appartment ‘home’), and spent the afternoon chatting with Rie, listening to music and drinking tea. and then I went out once more, incredibly nervous and sad, headed for my last appointment, a social activity with the dancers from the Ochanomizu Dance Club to give some closure (a concept I need to discuss further in another post, I think) to our work together. in other words: a dinner. and so we had dinner (Japanese style once more: some eating, a lot of drinking), and then went out together. I insisted on going dancing somewhere but it didn’t work, and we ended up doing Puricura – a very popular entertainment form that consists in taking group pictures inside a booth, and then adding some digital effects, and getting some prints… and after the Puricura we visited (yes, one more time) a Karaoke place. which was fun, though I have the feeling that Karaoke is something that works better with more time and alcohol. in any case the evening was a lot of fun and I got some very nice souvenirs (including my share of the Puricura prints).

now I’m trying to write about today, and I feel like there isn’t really much to say. I just need to express my sadness, to share it, to insist on how sad my sadness is today. it’s a very simple sadness, anyways, no big deal. I went out today, and went out again, I met with many people to say goodbye, and came back and had a cup of tea with Matsuo and Rie. now I’m feeling even sadder than in the afternoon.

I lay in bed and it’s not so easy to decide to sleep. beyond all the fantastic artistic experiences and fantastic networking opportunities, the most intense thing about this trip has been the ammount of love that I’ve experienced. it’s been brutal. like Tokyo. I am overdosed, and maybe that’s why I don’t want to go to sleep. it’s definitely why I am like I’m writing today… maybe. I’ve met so many people and I’ve been given so much love here that at times is almost difficult to deal with…

I don’t know what to write anymore, I am tired, and I have to wake up early. I don’t think I will manage to give better form to this post in the coming 5 minutes. so let’s leave it here. I think there is a lot and it is very eloquent, even in its unclarity or specially in its unclarity. thank you for reading, and thanks for being around.