I’m starting to wonder if living in Japan is bad for my child’s ego.
Stella is the only foreign kid for miles around, and in kawaii obsessed Japan, her genki smile, auburn curls, and predilection for waving have garnered this wee girl quite the following.
Case in point: our weekly trip to the department store food shops wherein we set out in search of cilantro, good whole-grain bread, and our hebdomadal cheese ration, and return with a massively inflated conception of self-worth.
I tell you, people, walking through the food aisles with my daughter is like accompanying Oprah as she glides through her studio audience on the way to the stage (an outdated similie I know, but my cultural reference points have been severely narrowed by being on the other side of the world). As we walk down the aisles, strangers coo. Some whisper to each other and some call out to us, KAWAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII. People wave, and initiate sly games of peekaboo. Strangers rush over to her and tap her cheek, hold her hand, or offer her candy. Grandmothers are Stella’s natural target market, but even business men, and most shockingly, teenaged boys are not immune to her charms.
And does Stella ever love the attention. She walks along beside me, waving at all the people. I’m pretty sure she things she’s Kate Middleton. Or possibly Suri Cruise. And let’s not lie, it’s not like I’m suffering a great hardship here, by being told that my kid is adorable eleventy million times a day.
It’s just that, when we go back to North America or Europe, and Stella is just one more snotty-nosed caucasian kid in a sea of snotty-nosed caucasian kids, well, poor wee lamb is going to be in for a rather rude awakening.