Roughly translating as “cute”, “adorable”, or “lovable”, kawaii is a growing trend across the globe that originated in Japan. The more cute stuff you smother yourself with, the more kawaii you will be. There is a fine line between kawaii wannabes and the true kawaii folks that are forever giggling at the posers. From fat cat cartoons to gothic Lolita dresses, here are 15 ways to be bona-fide kawaii.
1. Own a string of Lolita dresses
Before embarking on a full kawaii lifestyle, you must have a kawaii wardrobe, and that includes Lolita dresses. Stitch your own, order it online, or wait until the next comic convention is in town to invest in thousands of dollars worth of dresses. Don’t forget, you need matching stockings and headpieces to accommodate every single dress.
2. Kids’ jewelry
If your five-year-old cousin would wear it, then you should wear it. Your jewelry should consist of every color in the rainbow with glitter touches and a couple of happy creatures adorned on it. Don’t ever let yourself be caught donning a necklace from Tiffany’s.
3. Buy a Hello Kitty House
They say that money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy kawaii. Invest money into a Hello Kitty house, or if you feel like being extra extreme, go for a Totoro house or something in the same fashion.
4. Bento boxes
If your food is not smiling back at you, go home and pack your bags, because you’ve failed as a genuine kawaii entity. Make sure every meal you have comes in bento boxes and prepare it every morning. You must take your time to carefully craft as much cute kawaii faces in your meals. Peanut butter sandwich in a Ziploc bag is a big no-no.
5. Manga books
Living the kawaii dream means acknowledging it’s influences –manga books. Your bedroom should be stocked wall to wall with manga books. Many manga books come in English, but nothing is more authentic kawaii than reading manga book in its original Japanese writing. Time to make that Rosetta Stone order.
6. Hayao Miyazaki
Obsessing over Miyazaki is as “Americanized” as you can get. Known for creating Disney films, Hayao Miyazaki has produced “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Spirited Away,” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” If you do not have every character from soot sprites to the cat bus scattered throughout your home or wardrobe, just give up and go back to your World of Warcraft. You don’t have what it takes.
Whether you drink tea or not, being truly kawaii means having an absurd collection of happy cute faces teapots. You might not ever use them, but that’s okay — because you just scored kawaii points for all that cute clutter!
8. Obsess over cats
From owning cats to collecting cat figurines, everything around you should be cats, cats, cats. Your food should be in a shape of a cat, your hair should have cat bobby pins, and you should be watching nothing but cat videos of fat felines pitifully play with boxes. But, if you’re allergic — you can settle for pugs.
9. Peace gestures for every photo shoot
If you’re strutting down the street in full kawaii gear and someone stops you to get your picture, you must hold up a peace sign. Otherwise, you’re just a phony. And don’t forget that after every photo shoot, you have to follow it up with unnatural giddiness and incessant giggling.
10. Never, ever, take your coffee without a face on it
If your barista hands you a drink without a smiling face, send it back immediately. Your reputation is at stake, and the last thing you need is this no-good barista to ruin your kawaii image.
11. Your significant other must accept it and/or be part of your kawaii world
Get a kawaii boyfriend (or girlfriend). He/she must accept your new sense of kawaii-self and be part of it. He/she must wear fuzzy smiling hats or be part of your cosplay troupe. If your significant other is just not that into it — dump him/her immediately (you’ll thank us later).
If you don’t find them to be all that cute, you still should collect them. Every true kawaii experts know this. You should have a whole bookcase dedicated to your Monchichi collection and they have to be in mint condition.
Being kawaii means participating in cosplay every chance you get. Comic convention in town? Dress up as a sexy Pikachu! Furry-con in town? Time to show off that tanuki’s tail you own.
14. Dine in Kawaii fashion
If you get tired of bento boxes and you must go out to eat, then make sure that every place you go to falls within the kawaii guideline. For example, bunny cafes (pictured above) or cat cafes are perfectly acceptable and meet kawaii standards. Or for a more upscale environment, live it up by going to a themed restaurant where squids are practically crawling out of your plates.
15. Move to Japan (duh)
The only true way to live, breathe, and be kawaii is to live in Japan. If you already live in Japan, congratulations! You just beat out all the kawaii wannabes wishing they could afford the Tokyo-kawaii lifestyle. Heh, losers, they’ll never achieve that maximum level of cuteness.