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  1. #16

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Great points Wondering. I am also the same way. Very shy and really don't like attention drawn to me. I don't take Duffy everywhere, but I take him to the parks sometimes or when I'm with friends. But I'm always so nervous taking photos, because people do stare. I mostly like the kid's reactions. They always seem so happy seeing the little bears. But that doesn't make me a pedophile. I think that's the main culture difference. Like anything kid-related or to a point, like kids, and you're considered a pedophile. It's just the cynicism America is known for. And it is sad. I hope for one day to go to TDS and proudly display my Duffys without being so nervous, since everyone is doing it!(hopefully it will be sooner that later )
    Poor unfortunate Souls.

  2. #17

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Ursulalvr is right. I'm taking Duffy to San Antonio and were are going on the river walk together and I don't care what anyone says

  3. #18

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Ok well, I'm in my late 30's and I love taking my Duffy places. Sure I get the occasional odd look, but most times people see him sticking out of my bag and probably don't even think twice about it or I hear "Oh how cute!". When I'm out, 9 times out of 10 I'll probably never see at least half these people again, so I don't give a flying rat's patooie what they think. My philosophy (one of them) is you only live once. I was kind of shy when I was younger, but not anymore. I'm actually a bit of an attention whore at times (must be my Leo-ness).

    My mom is in her 60's and she enjoys taking her Duffy places as well.

  4. #19

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    Talking Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    What I really needed was a heavy dose of Japanese Duffy fandom, and boy did I get it today. Today was like "old school Duffy Fever!" Today would have been as insane as Shellie May's debut if not for the extra shop and reservation system. Sadly, iPhone can't use the Duffy Goods Reserved Entry Service. They really should get that system compatible with smartphones.

    There'll be a longer report of today's events later in the Home Sweet Christmas Shopping thread, but I think this insight goes here. For all the people who say, "Duffy just can't work in America, there just aren't enough people open to supporting him;" I say, Duffy is not for them. And if you're resigned to that, then Duffy is not for you. Duffy is not "toddler fodder" for kids. Duffy is a timeless icon for everyone who understands the power of character design and cute comfort objects to keep the lights burning and the darkness at bay.

    In Japan, there is no confusion whatsoever about this, though I doubt many Japanese fans would verbally recognize their Dufflove as anything but "KAWAIiIiI!!!"^^ If there are not enough people in America who are capable of understanding that, if we really have grown so cynical with our sex and violence obsessions that we now have to add sex and violence to the equation whenever someone chooses to keep their child-heart beating (labeling them as pedophiles), then so be it, America. Duffy doesn't need you. The love of the Japanese people - both genders and all ages - that I saw today, all day, was so beautiful, so real, and so DEEP. I think they know what Duffy is, and I think they think of him as theirs as much as I do. The difference is, I don't think it's "impossible" for Americans to get over themselves and have fun with Duffy.

    But the quality would have to be there. That's what made the Japanese fans come out like this. It hasn't been like today in a while. Today was special because this merchandise release is special. I think it will go down in history as one of the greatest Duffy releases of all time, and the Japanese fans showed an incredible amount of support. I wasn't the only person who had to stand out in those shop lines more than once because of the 3-item limit. And while some of them are "man-children" or childish women or actual children, the vast majority of the people I saw buying Duffy today were 20~40 (sometimes with children), very "normal" (whatever that means) and full of heart with an eye for design that speaks to it. I was proud of Duffy again today as if I'd just started to understand him for the first time.

  5. #20

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Awesome post, DuffyDaisuki! It does help to get a dose of fan love like that. Sadly, I do think that most Americans are way to cynical and sex/violence obsessed, so they see things in people that they shouldn't. Always jumping to conclusions and judging people. It's true that somebody would be creeped out, especially by a guy carrying around a teddy bear, and yes, pedophile would probably pop into their head.

    I would love for it to be like Japan where it's more acceptable, and even if something were seen as odd, it wouldn't be too big of a deal. I do think that inside the Disney parks in America there is an exception to the rule, and that's where many adults feel safe with Duffy and acting child-like.

  6. #21

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    Lightbulb Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    …I would love for it to be like Japan where it's more acceptable, and even if something were seen as odd, it wouldn't be too big of a deal. I do think that inside the Disney parks in America there is an exception to the rule, and that's where many adults feel safe with Duffy and acting child-like.
    I just wanna be clear that in Japan, too, someone who actually looks "creepy" walking around with a teddy bear…or a syringe…or a gun would be seen as creepy. If I wanna take photos of Duffy in public spaces, I should dress nice, look approachable and unashamed, and it probly helps if I have a nice attention-getting camera and take a long time to pose my shots. If I look like an "artist," I'll be seen that way. If not, I'll be at least "that weird old foreigner with Duffy (no one here thinks "that teddy bear" antmore^^)." Pedo is pedo here, too.

    Well…most of the time. There are absolutely problems in Japan with the inappropriate level of constant sexual objectification of women, even in public transportation. I'm thinking here about the girls spread eagle in bras and panties on train advertisements, or all the women shoving their breasts out on the covers of convenience store magazines…right next to the comics that junior high school boys read, the same height as a six-year-old. Or the new Johnny's boy band "Sexy Zone," whose members range in age from 11~17. I'm not one to be too prudish about the Johnny's vision of playful homoerotic fangirl service, but I think adolescent children in a band with such a provocative name is a problem, and plenty of Japanese agree. We should be careful about portraying Japan either as a "land of innocents living childhood dreams" or as an extremely open society where "anything goes." Both of these stray far, far from Japanese social reality.

    Japanese people, though, have an aesthetic that is defined by refinement, investment, stature and timelessness. And on all these counts, Duffy excels. In fact, he is emblematic of these qualities. Japanese morality is, to my mind, grey and convoluted in many respects by a passive aggressive "neutrality" that feigns ambiguity while silently judging with extreme harshness. And there definitely are some who judge adult Duffy fans in this way. But the Oriental Land Company and fans are so supportive, so creative, and so meticulous about quality crafting of the Duffy experience that all but the staunchest detractors have at this point been thoroughly disarmed by the bear who brings the love.

  7. #22

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Nothing like a good dose of fan love to reaffirm why you love Duffy in the first place.

  8. #23

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Yeah, I guess I wasn't clear about the Japanese aesthetic. I'm sure creepy is creepy. It's the same here too, if you look unsavory, you're going to get judged. In America though, even if you look nice and fashionable, if you're holding a plush bear, you'll get odd looks and then people will wonder about you.

    I know Japan has an undercurrent of this that they don't really talk about too much, and I certainly don't want to romanticize the country, because every culture has their issues with morality and what's deem acceptable. Personally, I appreciate that Japan is a little bit more flexible (on the surface anyway) of people's different fandoms.

  9. #24

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit, DuffyDaisuki! I feel like such an event in the US would be full of people trying to be greedy.

    Yes, you might get funny looks taking a teddy bear out in public in the US...I've taken 18" dolls out for pictures and I'm sure I got some stares...it was intimidating but also kind of fun. Compared to dolls, I think teddy bears are widely accepted here. And I don't care so much what people think...frankly I usually don't notice when people are staring.

    I love Tiny Duffy because he's so portable...he's also somewhat unobtrusive, but I still got stares when I took posed him in Prescott, so I guess people DO notice. I don't mind so much because he's so crazy cute and because I am going to share his travels with my friends.

  10. #25

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    When people start staring at me and giving me odd looks when I have Duffy out and about or posing him for photos, I just ignore them. But sometimes I get people who are curious enough to come up and ask about the bears and stuff.

  11. #26

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    Yeah, I guess I wasn't clear about the Japanese aesthetic…and I certainly don't want to romanticize the country, because every culture has their issues with morality and what's deem acceptable. Personally, I appreciate that Japan is a little bit more flexible (on the surface anyway) of people's different fandoms.

    I didn't think you were unclear at all. I thought I sounded like I was romanticizing (and, honestly, I probably was a bit^^). This last part is really true, though. Fans invest hearts and yen extensively so companies follow suit, and vice-versa, but commitment and quality are always and unwaveringly at the center of this process. Lacking either, nothing happens. It's strange because Japanese society is so rigid in so many ways, yet fan cultures often fly firmly in the face of the rules, and somehow the fact that fans (and production teams) care with such enthusiasm lends a modicum of at least passive acceptance, and often even respect, to an otherwise "taboo" pastime. With comics, animation, games and character design; this is surely the case. Many professional Japanese business people in finance or industry will complain that Japanese are "childish" or "strange" because so many adults are interested in these things - many do complain, actually, especially if they often do business with Wall Street types. Still, the majority opinion seems to be that as long as a person is able to take care of practical matters like home, wardrobe, food and family; it's no one else's business how that person spends their free time, what they spend their money on or what makes them happy. At least outwardly, judging people for their hobbies is generally on par with being "too childish" in lack of public acceptance. Both things are not favorable, so they kind of balance each other out. Generally in Japan, at least the outward appearance of social harmony always wins. I guess that's why this conversation saddens and frustrates me. It's strange that in America where we explicitly teach people to live their dreams and create laws to ensure that even those in the minority can demand life precisely on their own terms, we also feel comfortable with the notion that our society might actually be one in which what "adult" means has a finite and predetermined image. Being "grown up" is not just whatever we decide it is at that point in our lives. That just seems plain unAmerican to me.^^


    I wonder, too, though, if this isn't also tied to Japan's economic success with character-based products, both domestically and as exports? The fact that these products are such an essential part of Japan's economy and, really, identity. Again, this is true both in Japan and around the world, so it's not like the Japanese can really just dismiss this whole side of their own culture, even when many working professionals feel relatively "immature" when compared to the "cool" businesspeople of the US and Europe. Personally, I think the Japanese are plenty competent at being "cool," and the fact that it's possible in Japan to be taken seriously as an adult who still loves "childish" things is a necessary element in Duffy's mainstream success.


    A "just for kids" Duffy could never garner the cultural capital or revenue to warrant a place in the parks like Cape Cod or the Village Greeting Place. Duffy gently, gradually, organically but decisively moved in and took over a whole area of Tokyo DisneySEA, essentially creating an "Eighth Port." This "merchandise character" whose story consists of only three little books and a show, all exclusively limited to availability inside only one of Tokyo's parks will be at the center of a brand new, park-wide spring event next year. In a culture that dismisses the possibility of a character having that kind of power in the first place, a culture that sees the love that would even make such a transformation possible as a negative fundamentally, the only way Duffy has a chance is if the fans "prime" the culture to help people make room for what Duffy is. If Duffy's fan culture is a kind of culture that demands that people open their hearts because of the quality of the love Duffy brings to fill it, well then Duffy could be something very, very special indeed. If Duffy was doing that in America, I'd say he's absolutely Duffy; that's what Duffy does. If the Walt Disney Company isn't even trying to do that, so much so that even die-hard fans repeatedly say it's impossible for Duffy to do that, then I'd say something is missing from both the marketing and the fandom. If openness to character love in this way is absent in America, okay, that's fine. But the solution is not to deny Duffy's power. The solution is to magnify it with overwhelming commitment and quality, and then get out of the way and let Duffy Bring that Love. He does that. He's good at that. And how much more awesome would American Duffy be if making that happen was his clear mission? How much more would we care, then, if he succeeds and the way that success comes about? How could Duffy be Duffy and be doing anything else? That's what he does. That's who he is. ...And if he isn't that, he's just some Disney-branded bear-thing.

  12. #27

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDaisuki View Post
    Being "grown up" is not just whatever we decide it is at that point in our lives.
    One of my philosophies is, "growing old is mandatory... growing up is optional". To me, you're only as old as you feel. I'm in my late 30's and I act like a 5 year old at times... because it's FUN. I'm mature and "act my age" when I need to. But the rest of the time I'm just a kid at heart and always will be.

  13. #28

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    I'm mature and "act my age" when I need to. But the rest of the time I'm just a kid at heart and always will be.
    This.

  14. #29

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDaisuki View Post
    I didn't think you were unclear at all. I thought I sounded like I was romanticizing (and, honestly, I probably was a bit^^). This last part is really true, though. Fans invest hearts and yen extensively so companies follow suit, and vice-versa, but commitment and quality are always and unwaveringly at the center of this process. Lacking either, nothing happens. It's strange because Japanese society is so rigid in so many ways, yet fan cultures often fly firmly in the face of the rules, and somehow the fact that fans (and production teams) care with such enthusiasm lends a modicum of at least passive acceptance, and often even respect, to an otherwise "taboo" pastime. With comics, animation, games and character design; this is surely the case. Many professional Japanese business people in finance or industry will complain that Japanese are "childish" or "strange" because so many adults are interested in these things - many do complain, actually, especially if they often do business with Wall Street types. Still, the majority opinion seems to be that as long as a person is able to take care of practical matters like home, wardrobe, food and family; it's no one else's business how that person spends their free time, what they spend their money on or what makes them happy. At least outwardly, judging people for their hobbies is generally on par with being "too childish" in lack of public acceptance. Both things are not favorable, so they kind of balance each other out. Generally in Japan, at least the outward appearance of social harmony always wins. I guess that's why this conversation saddens and frustrates me. It's strange that in America where we explicitly teach people to live their dreams and create laws to ensure that even those in the minority can demand life precisely on their own terms, we also feel comfortable with the notion that our society might actually be one in which what "adult" means has a finite and predetermined image. Being "grown up" is not just whatever we decide it is at that point in our lives. That just seems plain unAmerican to me.^^


    I wonder, too, though, if this isn't also tied to Japan's economic success with character-based products, both domestically and as exports? The fact that these products are such an essential part of Japan's economy and, really, identity. Again, this is true both in Japan and around the world, so it's not like the Japanese can really just dismiss this whole side of their own culture, even when many working professionals feel relatively "immature" when compared to the "cool" businesspeople of the US and Europe. Personally, I think the Japanese are plenty competent at being "cool," and the fact that it's possible in Japan to be taken seriously as an adult who still loves "childish" things is a necessary element in Duffy's mainstream success.


    A "just for kids" Duffy could never garner the cultural capital or revenue to warrant a place in the parks like Cape Cod or the Village Greeting Place. Duffy gently, gradually, organically but decisively moved in and took over a whole area of Tokyo DisneySEA, essentially creating an "Eighth Port." This "merchandise character" whose story consists of only three little books and a show, all exclusively limited to availability inside only one of Tokyo's parks will be at the center of a brand new, park-wide spring event next year. In a culture that dismisses the possibility of a character having that kind of power in the first place, a culture that sees the love that would even make such a transformation possible as a negative fundamentally, the only way Duffy has a chance is if the fans "prime" the culture to help people make room for what Duffy is. If Duffy's fan culture is a kind of culture that demands that people open their hearts because of the quality of the love Duffy brings to fill it, well then Duffy could be something very, very special indeed. If Duffy was doing that in America, I'd say he's absolutely Duffy; that's what Duffy does. If the Walt Disney Company isn't even trying to do that, so much so that even die-hard fans repeatedly say it's impossible for Duffy to do that, then I'd say something is missing from both the marketing and the fandom. If openness to character love in this way is absent in America, okay, that's fine. But the solution is not to deny Duffy's power. The solution is to magnify it with overwhelming commitment and quality, and then get out of the way and let Duffy Bring that Love. He does that. He's good at that. And how much more awesome would American Duffy be if making that happen was his clear mission? How much more would we care, then, if he succeeds and the way that success comes about? How could Duffy be Duffy and be doing anything else? That's what he does. That's who he is. ...And if he isn't that, he's just some Disney-branded bear-thing.
    This was an awesome post, and very well said!

    ---------- Post added 11-07-2011 at 09:41 AM ----------

    I just read this little article on a video gaming website that is really appropriate to the Duffy discussion here.

    The Secret World of Character Costumes and the Japanese Women Who Wear Themt talks about Japan's acceptance of characters and the long tradition. Even some of the comments from users at the bottom of the article are interesting, in that they point out America's disdain of cute, but when it's done right, people flock to it.

    One guy's example of the recent My Little Pony Friendship is Magic series is a great example. It's got a huge cult following of mostly guys in their 20's and 30's, and they call themselves "bronies". They aren't afraid to embrace this series and it's characters, because there is such quality there. That's the thing...quality.

    If Duffy had the kind of attention that the My Little Pony reboot has, then he could also take off like that. It would be hard, but it's not impossible.

  15. #30

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    Re: A year later, this is kinda eerie…

    I just read that article and one of the comments hit it on the head. They mention hoe Japanese game shows (which I love) are just so silly, but in the west, game shows are so serious. And they're totally right. American game shows act like everything is a life of death situation. It's like, "If you get this question wrong, we're going to burn down your house and kill your family!" It's a GAME SHOW. Then they take awesome Japanese game shows like "Hole In the Wall" and totally ruined it by being overly dramatic and serious. The original Japanese version usually features celebrities and comedians who just let loose and that's what makes it so funny. Some American game shows, like "Let's Make a Deal" and "Wipeout" still bring the silly for the most part, which I like (though Wipeout has gone overboard with the mud and throwing paint at the contestants... STOP IT).

    Like another person who commented said, "Embrace the cute!"

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