I’ve been asked by someone in Japan to write something on Tokyo Story about yaeba in order to enlighten people outside of Japan. Indeed, I had no clue what it meant, but I’ve seen it first hand here on the streets and subways of Tokyo. Yaeba means ‘crooked teeth’, but usually refers to a movement in Japan, of guys who like yaeba girls. The classic yaeba crooked smile is supposedly a genetic trait of Okinawans mainly, and manifests itself as large, misshapen teeth or as a ‘double tooth’, where two canine teeth grow one in front of the other. Sometimes canine teeth are pushed forwards due to an overcrowded gum line and give the girl a feline look – which is supposedly where the attraction for yaeba fans comes from. It’s supposed to be charming or cute to certain Japanese guys. There are a good few celebrities with yaeba in Japan, but rather than have it fixed at a dentist, they keep it and show it off as an asset. People in the west think it’s strange, as it’s desirable to have perfect teeth there – but it’s different here. As usual.
Did you know you can get Hello Kitty guitars? A Fender Stratocaster no less! I don’t know why you’d want one, but, looking at the site, there’s more evidence of Hello Kitty’s rising popularity in parts of the world other than Japan. Here, Sanrio Corp.’s lead mascot is encouraging young girls to pick up the guitar.