Kawaii from Australia

23 May

I’d like to share with you kawaii things and stores I found in Australia. 🙂
This is a set of tea towel that I found in K-mart. These towels are so kawaii to me!! I didn’t expect I can find such kawaii towels in a discount store like K-mart.

Speaking of K-mart, and some supermarkets in Australia, I found it’s really cool that they have self check-out service! Unfortunately in Japan, we don’t have such system. I’ve been wondering for many years why we can’t check-out without a person at a cashier. Japan is so advanced in terms of technical devices, then why not? Australia already has this system. We don’t even have an express lane for the people who only want to pay for a few items at a cashier, which is also very inconvenient. 😦 It seems that Japanese supermarkets and discount stores should learn more from those overseas…


I found some nice interior furnishing stores in Australia. They carry some kawaii goods. 🙂

Also, I thought there were many stores that sold bed linens. I found many kawaii bed linens but most of them seemed to be queen sized and all the pillow seemed to be the same size. I’d change bed linens several times if I lived in Australia. They have a lot of color variations and patterns, and most of them were kawaii!!

I really enjoyed browsing kawaii interior goods even though I couldn’t buy them to bring back home. But healthy products are also quite attracting to me. I’ve been a fan of propolis toothpaste since I brought back 1 small toothpaste from Sydney in 2009. I’ve searched online if I can buy similar product in Japan but it was quite expensive. So I was willing to purchase some propolis toothpaste this time to bring back home and use for the next 12 months or more. haha!

One of the reasons that I like Australia is that healthy products can be easily purchased there, and not that expensive compared with the case purchased in Japan. Actually it is not easy to find such natural items as Moo Goo cream or paw paw cream in Japan. Thursday Plantation products are also very interesting to me.

Finally, I was quite surprised to find a Japanese QP mayo at a supermarket (I forgot if it was Woolworth or Coles), because I remember I asked one of Japanese friends who was working at a Japanese restaurant to share with me some Japanese mayo back in 1999-2000 when I was living in Australia with working holiday visa. I guess I missed Japanese mayo badly at that time…^ ^;;

This is something interesting, and not relevant to something kawaii, but I also was quite surprised to see a newscaster look like this. I mean her hair style! It looked like a hedgehog or something. I don’t think such unique hair style is seen from Japanese news casters. I think we have more strict rules and dress code in Japan. Also, it’s sad aged female newscasters are not on TV difficult to stay on TV in Japan. Most of them are young and they have to leave the company before they turn 30 to become freelancer. 😦 There are only a few of them who can continue their work as they get old. (Sorry, my explanation was confusing, there are some aged female reporters on TV in Japan but it’s more difficult for them to stay on TV than aged male reporters.)

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21 Responses to “Kawaii from Australia”

  1. Heather Meadows May 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Your comparisons of Australia to Japan are really interesting! Thanks for sharing! I've never been to Australia, and it's been a long time since I went to Japan.

    I didn't know female newscasters couldn't stay on the air past age 30! That is crazy! Do you mean reporters, or news anchors, or both? I thought for sure I had seen a female news anchor who was older, but maybe I am misremembering.

    • kirin May 24, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      Thank you for your comment, Heather.
      Japanese newscasters normally belong to one of the major TV stations and they are considered a company employee. But I hear female newscasters have to leave the company and work as a freelancer (appear on TV, regardless of whichever TV stations) before they turn 30 or so. So we still see them on TV but not as a company employee but as a freelancer and that means more difficult to survive.

      • hAnYAH_aYaME May 24, 2012 at 9:06 am #

        Hi Kirin. I know this letter is not related to any of your latest post…So where do I start? Hmm…let me see…I found your blog by (should I say) accident 2 days ago because I was looking for a Japanese Facebook-like website thru Google's search engine. But as I see it, it seems to me that several of this sites appear to be more of a fraud than real. And guess what? I stumbled upon your blog archive about why Facebook is not popular in Japan 3 years ago, and which I'm not too surprised to hear, because I have read it somewhere (aside from your blog). So it's best to say that I have given up my search on a Japanese Facebook-like site…for now. Hahaha!

        I'm a Filipino and currently living in the Philippines (though I would really like it if I'm given the chance to work or have at least a short vacation in other countries, mind you…especially Asian countries PREFERRABLY your home country, Japan…) As you might have noticed by now, I'm a big fan of anything Japanese. Just to tell a story, back in college, we have japanese exchange students from Soka University (exchange students arrive at our school every 2nd semester…) Me and my friends got to know some of them but it was in my 3rd year that we really got acquainted with that batch of exchange students. At first, they seem to be a little too shy and would return our hi's and hello's with only a smile and nod (though they greeted us in English lively when they were first intoduced to us) but I figured it was more of the "language barrier" thing. I was the first to approach them and after a few meetings, we finally got to have a good laugh about silly jokes and stories. Though more often than not, I think (and you have to agree) that the funnier moments is that when you are stuck-up on what you're about to say or you can't say what you really want to say. Because we thought that they might misinterpret what we're saying (which also applies the other way around) or both parties can't follow the thought processes which often leaves us and them staring blankly into each others faces for a few seconds then just burst out laughing heartily.

        I must say I miss those old days and I wouldn't deny that one of them caught my attention. She is a one fine, Japanese lady and she is the closest to me and my Fine Arts friends (which is my college course by the way) but a semester is to short for something beautiful to begin with. But this college friend of mine tried courting her anyway, and VERY UNFORTUNATELY, they became a couple…for 5 months…which left my friend in tears when the time finally came for her to go back home in Japan… HAHAHA!

        Joke aside…I find your blog entertaining because it is the first blog that I saw (I think) made by a Japanese woman who can speak and write English very well. I know it won't fit in your blog, because as I see it this is a blog for girls, but I wish you could feature bits and pieces of Japanese rock or hip hop music scene or the hottest manga or movie in Japan right now which both boys/man and girls/women can also appreciate.

        Until next time, Kirin. Hope to hear from you soon…Thank you.

      • kirin May 25, 2012 at 3:54 am #

        Thank you for writing such a long comment.
        I suppose that not many Japanese people are blogging in English, so I'm simply glad to hear that you enjoy reading this blog. Although the most of the parts of this blog are perceived to be targeted for women, there are articles that men can also enjoy reading. ^ ^;;

        I'm also happy to hear a story like yours, that you had a good memory with Japanese people. It's always nice to know there are certain people who love our country, although it's full of social, political and economic problems.

  2. XavierB May 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    It seems that kawaii is a highly subjective adjective. 🙂 I was looking at the photos and I had difficulties to find something I would consider as kawaii. (I always thought that vibrant colours and some sort of infantilization are the basis for kawaii-ness.) Especially those towels look more retro than kawaii to me.

    We also have those self check-out stations in Portugal. I don't like them. It's still faster going through the normal lanes than using those stations. The main reason is you have to scan every single item. And you can't pay with money, so introducing the PIN takes additional extra-time. (Not mine, I type it really fast, but there are a awful lot of people who take ages to type in a single number.) And the main reason for these stations is not to give you a better service (it's not faster or more comfortable) but to reduce the number of employers. By the way they reduce also the emotional attachment to a store. It's a difference to be served by human or to "feed" a machine with your products.

    And we had here the express lanes, too, but it didn't work as expected. They were limited to 15 items but suffered with two problems: First, some people were too dumb to count to 15, congesting from time to time the flow. But they weren't the biggest annoyance, because the second problem came with the higher inflow of clients through these lane. More people means also a higher probability to encounter problems: either with a non-working debit/credit card, a product with a missing or wrong price tag, discussions if something was on sale or not, etc. My experience was that many times the normal lanes were faster, so I avoided the express lanes altogether. I guess three or four years ago the express lanes were abolished and nobody seems to miss them. The funny thing is that when I turn up at the the lane with one two items in my hands, I'm almost always offered to jump to the front of the queue. And I don't have any social bonus like a woman. XD

    The only special lanes that are left, are the ones that prioritize with special needs (pregnant women, elderly or disabled people) and the ones with offer a delivery service. And they really work as expected.

    • kirin May 24, 2012 at 8:13 am #

      Exactly! Kawaii is a highly subjective adjective. Something looks kawaii to one person but not at all to the other. It's like that. 😉

      Thank you for sharing your own experience of self check-out and express lanes. That was interesting to read. ^ ^

  3. Lisa May 24, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    That news reader has been on the television for about 30 years! She always wears colourful clothes and hairstyles.

    • kirin May 24, 2012 at 8:14 am #

      That's cool. I like to watch the same person for years to come. I think that helps develop more stability and trust between audience. 🙂

  4. Alberto May 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Oh… so you think that those kind of towels are kawaii? Then you can find a lot of kawaii things like that in Spain!!!!
    Not only towels, of course, but where I live there are a market (or call it warehouse too) where you can buy a lot of things in that fashion, with patterns that I'm sure you will enjoy. Also a lot of interesting kitchen tools and a lot of things for your home with so many different designs and colors… It should be something like that K-Mart you visited, I think, but with all kind of objects that we consider then somehow useless or not kawaii at all ^_^

    In either case, I would recommend you to bring much money because even when the single objects are cheap, you could finally end up buying a lot of things. I usually see people (most of the women :$ ) carrying carts full of things that I usually don't consider useful.

    I remember an apron I bought years ago for my aunt. Such apron had a lot color bands: red, yellow, pink, cyan, green, and so on. Something like this: http://dadsinthekitchenblog.files.wordpress.com/2… but bands instead of dots.
    Would you consider that kawaii? Then as I can see, could something be kawaii for you but not for me? Then, kawaii is not the same as cute, as far as I can see…

    About the newscaster, yeah, I find her pretty old and strange looking. The newscasters here usually wear elegant clothes and serious pose and looking. But, we don't mind having "old" newscasters hahaha

    • kirin May 25, 2012 at 4:01 am #

      That apron is definitely KAWAII to me~~~~!!! I'd buy it if I find it here, nevertheless I don't like to wear an apron at cooking. lol
      Then, it's possible that non-Japanese people still think that kawaii only means a character represented by Hello Kitty. That's why they say "You will not be able to find kawaii outside Japan".

      I gave another pair of that tea towel to my best friend (Japanese) and she also said "kawaii" so you know that it's what kawaii means. ^ ^

      • Alberto May 26, 2012 at 9:25 am #

        Well… you can find a lot of things about Hello Kitty here. In fact, you can find a lot of people, basically girls, wearing Hello Kitty objects and clothes, and even underwear!!!

        The bad about occidental is that there are a lot of people with "Japanese-fever" that like to read manga, watch anime or even learn Japanese, but they know nothing about your great millenary culture. We even have some hair products that promise for your hair a "Japanese smooth", and you can see girls trying to wear JP fashion and look like a Japanese girl, for example, my 33 years old cousin (I'm 30).

        In either case, although I like manga, anime and so on, I'm more interested in your philosophy, history, religion, traditional music and even poetry, which is almost impossible to find here in Spain, even in english or german language. I only have a poetry book a modern Japanese author, whose name I don't remember now.

        About the term "kawaii", I always though that was refered to something that looks cute for almost everyone, for example, a dog puppy. But now that you say that kawaii is not a synomyn for cute, I think I understand it less. 😥
        I think that such term is something that you need to be Japanese to fully understand it.

        Hasta luego. Un abrazo a todos 😀

      • kirin May 27, 2012 at 11:38 am #

        It's true kawaii means something cute and adorable too.
        That's why I could describe Pi-chan as kawaii and in fact I tell her how she is kawaii everyday.

        But the term is not just that.
        kawaii furniture…for example, small cute designed furniture
        kawaii hair style…for example, pretty hair style for a girl that can attract men's attention
        kawaii hand writing…for example, unique letters

        Oh…it's very difficult to explain what's kawaii. It maybe similar to cool. You may find something cool but to other people it's just too simple or nothing special. Kawaii can be like that. Sorry for my poor explanation. XD

  5. orly kravarusic May 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Hi Kirin,
    I read your blog and enjoy it very much.
    I visited Japan 2.5 years ago and had the chance to shop in the supermarket neer my painting teacher's studio in chiba and checked out in the self service lane every day. Again that was 2.5 YEARS ago. So actually Japan is the most modern country I have ever been to. When it comes to "healthy" staff… my opinion is that they can write whatever they want on the package… I think this"health" idustry is very manipulative and use the weak point of people.
    Here in Israel healthy and organic are very popular too, but I think it's all about money.
    Thanks for sharring your experience with us, Crazy about Japan……………..Orly.

    • kirin May 25, 2012 at 4:31 am #

      Hi Orly,

      Oh, I have to admit that I have not seen a self check-out service in Japan because none of the supermarkets in my area has it. But I just receive an email from someone who has seen it in SEIYU, because it is operated by Walmart. It's possible you saw it in SEIYU a few years ago.

      As for the healthy products, I don't think they fake ingredients. But not all the good things work for everyone. Sometimes the good products do not work better in spite of the cost we spend for.

  6. Walter May 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Hi Kirin, nice towels ! Ah, the kewpie mayonaise . So strange that a sauce which was only introduced in Japan in 1925 became so popular, a sauce that contains mostly oil.
    Here in Belgium I've seen self check out counters ( you need a credit or bank card ) at IKEA and at CORA shops. They're four stations ad only one assistant that supervises them. You scan your articles , pay by credit card or bank card and show the ticket to the assistant as you walk out.Many shops have rows for people with few articles. They work , because you get sent to another counter if you bring to many articles. Ah, and we have older newscasters too ^^

    • kirin May 26, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      It's possible there are more Japanese living in Australia who wish to have Japanese mayo. It's not bad, although you may find it tastes a bit weird. ^ ^;; We have old female newscasters in Japan too but it seems it's more difficult for them to survive than male newscasters, as many of them are replaced by younger ones. Sorry for my poor explanation, I changed that part a bit. ^ ^;;

  7. Lore May 28, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    In Spain there're a few supermarkets that already has self check-out service but old people don't know how to use it, but for me it's practical and faster than the other way ^^

    • kirin May 29, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      Haha, old people may find it confusing…well then they can line up at an ordinary check-out lane with a cashier. ^ ^

  8. Meowmowraa August 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Ohhh we have those self service checkout machines in England but they are terrible! They don't work very well at all… at least here! Every other item makes the machine go crazy and tells you to call for a staff member… in fact they have staff watching you the whole time because they are needed so often… They also don't seem to believe you have bagged your items correctly and repeatedly tell you to insert item into the bag! Haha takes so long sometimes xD
    We also sell items like those towels here, I wouldn't call them "cute" but I would call the stuff in Japan cute! Perhaps we just become so used to our own product styles that we are no longer impressed ^^

    • kirin August 6, 2012 at 3:30 am #

      lol haha, that sounds like nonsense to have those machines. lol

  9. Maline June 13, 2013 at 6:00 am #

    that newscaster is on the global/international channel SBS. doesn’t really count lol. i don’t think many people can even understand her thick accent, but people don’t watch anyway.

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