As I admitted freely to a friend who distracted me by waving a Hello, Kitty in my face, I've succumbed to Asia's unique all-consuming brand of CUTE. The girls, the music, the boys, the clothing, the candy, the edible animals, seriously, EVERYTHING here is abysmally, distressingly, overwhelmingly adorable. You in the U.S. of A full of your ironic distance and cool, cynical exteriors cannot fathom the lengths to which Asian countries pursue cute. It is almost an art form.
This seems to have two effects on confused expats who witness layers upon layers of bubble-gum pink clothing on a woman of 35. One is to reject and mock it--to become almost emo in an attempt to distance oneself from the couple-tees and the infantalized sexuality of the pop bands. The other is to embrace and revel in it--to laugh endlessly as you and your friend fight over the last Princess Cat notebook in the stationery store or to find yourself referring to the slender boy with the man-purse in pink and a sparkly tie to match "hot" to the intense befuddlement of your friends fresh off the boat or back home (I swear if you look past the unfortunate fashion sense, he's a great catch). Most of the time I find myself in the latter category. But Herb Hillz is a place so disgusting in its adorability that even I almost developed diabetes of the eyes from the intensity of the sugar-frosted insanity. This place I cannot sufficiently describe for you in words, so pictures will have to manage to speak for me.
For extra insanity (and some beautiful flowers), check out the full album: