There's something that's not very hard to notice upon your arrival in Korea.
What is it that's not hard to notice?
Why, their love of cute things!
Another blogger I follow - who's now back living in the states - called Korealand the 'Land of Cute' and I quite agree with her. Like the little guy on my heater, there are just little characters everywhere. I find it rather endearing since Koreans take so many things so seriously - work, fashion, school, family - that it's nice to see such a physical manifestation of the idea that they still know how to have fun.
In the US of A there aren't so many cute things, instead we spread our love of fun and beauty across everything, mixing it in with work and school like you mix sugar into your coffee.
Here in Korealand it's a little more divided. Both ways work just fine, neither are wrong, it's just a different way of looking at the world and dealing with it. I can see ways in which both are correct, so take it as you will.
Now, look at this, I start off this entry with a specific goal in mind and end up wandering into a cultural and philosophical discussion....I really need to work on that...
One of the cutest characters that is recognized worldwide is Hello Kitty. She originated in Japan in 1974 on a vinyl coin purse. She first came to the US of A in 1976 and fluctuated in and out of popularity. I remember her becoming very popular again when I was nearing the end of elementary school. According to The Great Wiki that's when she truly became popular.
Now, the first time I saw something Hello Kitty over here in Korealand I took a picture for my cousin Rebecca, since she's a huge Hello Kitty fan.
This ended up starting a trend.
I've taken a picture of just about every Hello Kitty thing I've seen and this past weekend I hit the jackpot, so I finally decided to post about it.
Here are 'some' pictures....
So, this post is in honor of Rebecca and her love for Hello Kitty. Though I don't think it can compare with the Korean love for this uberly cute, silly looking cartoon cat.
As an aside:
Two months ago right now my plane was landing at Incheon International Airport. That's hard for me to believe. In a way it feels like I've always been here, but then, every once in a while, it feels like I've just arrived.
I had a realization the other day, when I was walking home. I thought "It's cold, I just want to get home!"
What's so amazing about that thought? Well, it's because when I thought it I actually thought of my apartment as home.
For years whenever I said something like, "I'm going home," I merely meant wherever I was going to sleep that night.
It didn't matter if it was my mom's, dad's, grandparents, or wherever I was housesitting. They were all 'home'. I've always maintained that home is wherever I'm staying. When I think about it I realize that I've thought this way ever since I moved to Iowa at the age of nine. When we left the house in Navarre I stopped thinking of any particular place as home. The closest would be my cousin's house in Shalimar. They've been living there since before I was born, so I always knew it was there, no matter where I moved or what happened to my family. For the past decade my grandparent's house has been like that too, but it still isn't the same.
And...well...I know it's silly to think this about an apartment that is attached to my job, but my little apartment has become a home to me.
And I'm just fine with that.