Hajimemashite, Nice to meet you!

02Oct09
Land of sweet enchantments...

Japan, land of sweet enchantments

Very brown...

South Africa, very brown

Hajimemashite! My name is Katie Badenhorst, I’m 24 years old and live in South Africa. For anyone who’s gleamed an idea of the racial intricacies of this country from the movie District 9, I have to state for the record that I’m a pretty normal white, middle class, (English), South African, but that this is not the subject of this blog. Rather I’ll be writing about all the things that interest me and relate to my design practice under the name Origami Cupcake: art, design but mainly Japan. I am passionately in love with Japan. Perhaps not the banal existence of actual Japan but the beautiful, slick and glossy surface of contemporary Japanese animé, manga, and film and the treasure trove of traditional Japanese arts and culture.

I don’t really have a sane reason for this obsession except that in comparison to Japan, South Africa is depressing, boring and very brown, and the fact that it’s an obsession that the rest of the world seems to share. In fact this cultural cross-pollination is perhaps the main thing that makes Japan so interesting. Japan, it can be argued, is simultaneously both part of the West and part of the East. For years now Japan has been exporting its culture in the form of children’s cartoons, giving a whole generation a taste for this alien culture. We can see this link to Japan as part of the generation gap, something that Baby Boomers will never quite get, but something which the youth understand instinctively. Critics complain that the American youth are losing their cultural identity, while others hail the beginning of a new global culture. While the concept of a global culture might be overly Utopian, I do believe that Japanese culture is part of the future, and I personally just can’t get enough of it.

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