Off to Japan!

Quick post: I’m leaving for Japan in 15 minutes!

I might be updating with photos if I can, but I’m officially on hiatus! I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to spend online (plus I’m only bringing a tablet).

Taking my first Rilakkuma plushie to his ancestral home hahaha

Rilakkuma Lifestyle - Bridge

Well, this was taken at the Duke Gardens in Durham, NC, not in Japan… but this bridge was constructed as a partnership with Durham’s sister city in Japan!

Also! I just got email confirmation from Lawson that my Rilakkuma x Lawson Aloha Rilakkuma plushie has shipped! Yay!

Haha since I pre-ordered it so long ago (back in March!!), I didn’t even know I’d be in Japan when it came out. Pretty awful timing since it’ll end up shipping to the US right as I leave :[ but hey – at least I’ll have something cute to welcome me back to the states in July! :D

See you all again in 3 weeks!

KFC x Rilakkuma!

Quick post – I just HAD to update about this!

Rilakkuma is teaming up with KFC Japan!

KFC x Rilakkuma 2013 - item selection

Aloha Rilakkuma themed!

In addition to the special printed boxes, this awesome collaboration features Aloha Rilakkuma themed magnet sheets, clear pouches, an oragami set, and a shoulder bag! Wow! This collaboration will be officially released on April 25th!

The items are all very cute, but I really want the boxes the most hahaha

Hopefully, this promotion will still be happening when I get to Japan! So excited!

KFC x Rilakkuma 2013 - Rilakkuma Lifestyle

Rilakkuma sure loves his KFC!

April Update!

Wah sorry for being lazy about updating! Forgot to post that I’m out of town for the entire month of April and the first half of May! T^T

Noodle lunch with Rilakkuma

I’ve been busy having noodle lunches with Rilakkuma!

Which means I’ll only be online and updating sporadically during that time, though I’ll try to take more photos – I’ve been neglecting my Rilakkuma Lifestyle tumblr more than I’d like recently.

Things are getting pretty busy around here! My sister is doing a study abroad program in Japan this summer, so I’ll be tagging along with her for a week in Japan! I’m so excited; it’ll be my first time at a real standing Rilakkuma Store!!

In terms of recent news, I finally got my Fukuoka 3rd Anniversary Rilakkuma (and Korilakkuma!) plushies in the mail – BUT! Sadly, they arrived at my house the day I flew out, so no pictures of them until I get back home! And of course, I am still waiting around for the Lawson x Aloha Rilakkuma plushie – June seems so far away!

In other Rilakkuma news, check out this great Miami Vice x Rilakkuma fan art by John J. Freeze!

John J. Freeze - Miami Vice x Rilakkuma

Eee so cute! What a great take on the different Rilakkuma collaborations hahaha :D

How inspiring! I wanna start drawing Rilakkuma art now, too!

Maido and the future of San-X in the US

Maido Stationary, a California-based company and officially licensed seller of San-X goods like Rilakkuma plushies, released the following statement from their official tumblr (emphasis mine):

Right before 2012 ended, there was some discussion that some of our items that weren’t following the regulations set by the CPSC (click to read about them!). It was determined that we needed to have certificates from our vendors saying their products are safe. While the American based companies have these certificates, the Japanese companies don’t.

To get this certificate, these companies need to use a third party testing service to further prove that the products are safe. These tests cost about $1000+ for EACH ITEM (the labs need 6 of each item to test them). So if it was just an Alpaca with a new hat or Rilakkuma with a cute bow, they all need to be tested. Our store cant afford to do testing on our own, so we asked the companies in Japan if they would be able to partake in the tests.

So far we aren’t sure which companies will be going forward with the testing. To avoid getting sued over these safety measures, we had to stop our orders from certain Japanese companies. This includes but is not limited to San-X / Amuse / Kamio / Crux / etc.

We are currently trying to see what we can do to fix this mess.  As far as we know, San-X’s oversea profits are only 10%. As an employee of this beloved store, I don’t want to stop ordering Rilakkuma goods *ugly sobbing* While we can’t do anything about it, I’m sure a bunch of very disappointed customers can! What can you do about this?

You can email our higher up staff at: info@mymaido.com

Tell them how much you would like to see Arpakassos or San-X products.

Also email: overseas@san-x.co.jp

These are the people who deal with the sale of Rilakkuma and other San-X products outside of Japan. You could tell them how you can’t live without their products and how you would like to see them being sold overseas. With enough demand from you, hopefully they will be able to do the tests! Fingers crossed!

TL;DR VERSION

We wont be carrying San-X / Arpakasso goods for the time being. But that doesn’t mean we are loosing hope!

This news is pretty heartbreaking because Maido in San Francisco was actually the first physical store I ever bought Rilakkuma products (my first Rilakkuma was a gift). My sister and brother each got their first Rilakkuma plushies from Maido (a medium Rilakkuma like my first and a Marine Rilakkuma, respectively), so Maido has a special place in our hearts.

Broadly, I’m not quite sure what this will mean for other US stores. As far as I can tell, Maido is the only store that has reported this problem so far – we’ll wait and see how this affects other San-X sellers here in the States, but I haven’t heard a peep from anywhere else… though admittedly, I don’t keep track of official San-X suppliers beyond following a few facebook pages.

Hopefully, the Maido tumblr will keep us posted as well; I hope everything will work out for them!

In more personal Rilakkuma news, I pre-ordered the Lawson Aloha Rilakkuma plushie (the one with the shopping cart) – but he doesn’t get released/shipped until June 20 so it’ll be a while until I can actually get my hands on him. In the meantime, my Rilakkuma will just be playing make-believe:

Rilakkuma x Lawson - Aloha Rilakkuma - re-creation

Close enough?

Vote for Rilakkuma Lifestyle!

Help support Rilakkuma Lifestyle!

My very own (and very first) Rilakkuma plushie is participating in Facebook photo contest!! It’s one of the older photos from my Rilakkuma Lifestyle tumblr:

Rilakkuma Photo Contest - submission

Vote for contemplative Rilakkuma!

Check it out, and please vote for me here: http://fbapp.monipla.jp/post_photo/view/6720/294106!

Rilakkuma Photo Contest - voting screen

Just click on the orange button I’ve circled in yellow to vote!

Press the orange “ほっこり” below the photo! I think only the orange “ほっこり” number counts toward the contest, but you can also click  “いいね!” to “Like” it.

A new window will pop up asking you to install the voting platform app if you haven’t before. As far as I know, the app doesn’t do anything or share content without your permission so it’s safe to add. Also, this contest is run by the official San-X Rilakkuma page, so I trust that it’s all legitimate. Just make sure that the vote count goes up by one when you click!

You can vote once a day!

Thank you so much – I appreciate any support! :) Thanks for your time!

ECAASU 2013 Summary!

Back from ECAASU 2013!

ECAASU 2013 - Powerpoint

View from the podium!

What a blast! My workshop, a moderated discussion titled “Kawaii Iconography: the racial dynamics of cuteness”, was completely full! I was so honored to meet such active and engaging participants. I even got to bring out my Rilakkuma plushie for everyone to see hahaha.

We covered a ton of great topics, but here were a few awesome points:

  • An overarching analysis of the kawaii character market: origins, meanings, and current manifestations. I got to introduce a lot of kawaii characters, highlighting my favorites, Rilakkuma and Sumikko Gurashi!
  • Compared kawaii characters to each other, with intersectional race/gender analysis. Basically: Rilakkuma versus Hello Kitty – how do they differ in representations of gender? For example, how does Rilakkuma represent masculinity (or does he?) versus how Hello Kitty represents femininity?
  • Contrasting these kawaii characters to characters originating from the US: Hello Kitty versus Barbie!
  • Investigating the toy market: whats the target demographic of kawaii merchandise? How does it compared to American cultural attitudes?

I was so inspired by the discussion, and I hope to be able to present again at ECAASU 2014!

Whew! So after a 2 week hiatus, I was welcomed back with a flurry of Rilakkuma news! Lots of great new collabs that I’ll post about soon!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Rilakkuma Lifestyle!

Valentines Day - Rilakkuma 1

Mmmm… chocolate!

valentines-4

Which one will he pick?

Hooray! A teddy bear and chocolates – how appropriate for Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day brings up a lot of silly memories for me. When I was in high school, my boyfriend at the time gave me a dozen roses and a teddy bear – attached to the teddy bear was a piece of lettuce and a note that said “Lettuce be together” hahahahaha.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Valentine’s Day – if not for love/romance, then definitely for the chocolate and candy!

Happy Lunar New Year from Rilakkuma Lifestyle!

Lunar New Year Rilakkuma

Relaxed Rilakkuma! (redundant?)

It’s the year of the water snake!

My family likes to celebrate by eating 2 fish, dumplings, noodles (my personal favorite), oranges, and pineapples – not all in the same dish though haha. We also wear brand new clothes and clean out the house to symbolize a fresh start to the new lunar cycle.

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful new year :)

New Rilakkuma gifs on tumblr!

Since I got a little gif addicted, I started up a new tumblr blog dedicated entirely to Rilakkuma gifs!

Because I’m a big fan of straightforward naming, you can find it at rilakkumagifs.tumblr.com!

Rilakkuma Gifs - hula dancers

One of many Rilakkuma gifs!

Enjoy!

I took care to tag them all appropriately, so they’ll be easy to search by series and character – though I’ve only made and queued gifs of the Tamago (chicken/egg), Aloha (Hawaii), and Tokyo Skytree series so far.

More to come when I find more Rilakkuma videos! There used to be ones from the older series, but the links seems to have disappeared with the recent layout renovation over at San-X – maybe I’ll have to do some digging…

Skytree Rilakkuma gifs!

While browsing the Skytree Rilakkuma Store’s webpage, I came across a really cute flash animation, and decided to use it as my first exercise in making gifs using this tutorial from WikiHow!

Here are my results:

Gif - Skytree Rilakkuma with dango

Rilakkuma with dango!

GIf - Skytree Rilakkuma rainbow

Rilakkuma and friends sliding down a rainbow!

These gifs don’t really fit the theme of the Rilakkuma Lifestyle tumblr for me to post there, but I thought they were so cute, so I had to share :)