Kawaii City: Bento and Orchids
Baby First Bento:
I have waifu skills, but bento making is some next level skillset. When Roxi and I went grocery shopping in H-mart, I did not fully comprehend the complexity and art of making bentos. I can’t even walk into the grocery store all the way cause my seafood allergy is on quirkless loser Deku high, and spending nearly thirty dollars on Hello Kitty toilet paper is an extravagance I didn’t know I needed. Anyway, we had a menu. We had a plan. Gentlefolk and They-dies we were still late. Cheffing it up takes time and getting Spring ready for the first meet up even longer. My Lookbook for this event is already posted, so check it out if you want to hear what craziness inspired my first Spring Coord.
What I love about DC Kawaii Style Meetups outside of a specific community coming together to socialize is how visually fun it is to gather and rock the DMV residents into new fashion goals. From Lolita to Street fashion seeing members of DC Kawaii Style in action can really inspire people to challenge our need to dress normally. From old to young we are visually a magical experience. How we gather and who we are never cease to amaze me, and I get happier each time I experience this phenomenon.
The food was amazing. Roxi really cheffed it up for the two of us. My favorite was the spicy rice cakes. They were so easy to prepare and I need to go back and get more (Hint hint wink wink) . The beef was marinated when we bought it so each bite was pure succulent mouth watering joy. The bean sprouts seasoned with spicy red sauce, and lord the kimchi had me speaking poetry. I loved how this event was a chance to explore creative cooking but also just sharing in the joy of food and good times.
Kawaii paparazzi in review:
With dressing in alternative styles, there is a spectacle. Even if to us, the people wearing this style, it’s merely an outfit of the day or us just existing in what we feel comfortable in. People want to take pictures. I get that. However, kindness plays a big part in how that goes about. I remember hearing that how we who dress in our particular styles is often the first impression for that style. Kids tend to stare in wonder, and adults look on either in curiosity, envy, or disdain. I try my best to be receptive to all who inquire with my best pink energy. I think DC Kawaii Style is excellent as a community to welcome others into our styles and educate those who have questions. We all vary in social energy from extroverted to introverted, and social anxiety bounces around. Plus seeing so many strangers ask to take pictures when they are kind enough to ask, can be exhausting. The effort we put forth in extending our hand to welcome people to alternative styles in J-fashion is a wholesome experience.
Every now and again there is a social blunder when interacting with people who wish to take pictures. In this instance, this blunder was interacting with Black people in Jfashion. I take a lot of time discussing my activism, social review, and social commentary and usually reference My podcast Ambiguous Anthology as the place I explore it the most when not in person. I confront Race and ethnicity in Kawaii communities, but mostly it’s a very passive experience. A woman, (and no I won’t state her ethnicity, but you can guess) approached the three of us while we were chatting and having one of the best moments of my life honestly. She approached us to ask why we were dressed the way we were, but she filled in our answer for her own verification to ask if we were “part of the exhibit, some form of guerilla art.” Now. As always I try to put my best foot forward, but even I felt a little bit of rage about to melt away the layer of kawaii and turn vicious. She kept repeating the term “Guerilla art” over and over despite how adamant our leader explained that no it's just style, just fashion. She left eventually ending her departure with how lovely we looked. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Reminding me why Afro-Kawaii is so essential and vital in these spaces.
Bring Your own Bento Next Time:
What I really loved about this event is how welcoming and creative it was to meet in this art space and have a mini indoor picnic. I don’t know the history of Bento, but I am encouraged to learn about it so that maybe next time Roxi won’t be alone in making the food. I enjoy talking about fashion, spending time with friends, and the wholesome atmosphere of our diverse community. Yes, that one woman irked me. She was one out of all the dozens of people who inquired about our styles that violated some boundaries. Going forward I think about having a flyer or informational card to hand out regarding Afro-Kawaii and helping others learn about our experience and self-expression in Fashion alongside the experience of Black people in these spaces. In the next B.Y.O.B, I hope to see you there, and perhaps behind me as an ally or friend for Black people in Kawaii spaces.