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Posts Tagged ‘para para’

These days it is becoming more and more common for talent to be sourced on the internet from sites like YouTube, and so hearing about a young girl making it “big in Japan” from her video fame online is not really surprising at all. In fact, it is almost natural when you consider who she is, what she looks like, the demographics of her audience, and the fact that this is Japan – a legendary country where fame is achievable by almost anyone.

So along comes Beckii Cruel (ベッキ・クルーエル)also known as Rebecca Flint, a 14-year-old from the Isle of Man. You may have read about her in The Guardian, or seen one of her videos online.

It’s really hard for me to restrain myself and not go on a rant here – there are so many things wrong with her and her fame that I find it rather upsetting. Mainly that her videos make me want to stab myself in the eye out of rage: does she not realise WHO is watching her or WHY she is famous?

Take a look at the demographics. It is a video watched mainly by men in the 25-40 age groups as you can see from it being shown at a Conference in Akihabara (the Mecca for Geeks and Nerds around the world). She is 14 both in age and appearance. Unfortunately jailbait sells, and that is exactly what she is.

She is just one of hundreds of girls who do para-para dancing and upload it to YouTube. That is all she is: a girl dancing around her bedroom. It helps that she is slim, slightly awkward, young and has slight anime features. I say “slight” because in reality, that’s all they are – especially compared to someone like the genuinely cute (and ridiculously annoying) Magibon, pronounced “Maggie-bon”, another star of the tube whose silent videos and cute features became a meme in its own right.

Don’t get me wrong – being talentless is not a crime, and in fact it has probably provided just as much entertainment pound for pound than from the professionals. In fact, isn’t that the reason that shows like the X-factor or Britain’s got talent are so popular? Something in our human nature loves failure – its like watching a car crash; you know you shouldn’t stare, but you do because, well, it’s there. The difference is that Beckii Cruel is not extraordinarily beautiful or talented, and in reality she isn’t even that entertaining, unless of course you are a middle-aged pervert who wishes he could get a girlfriend who looked even slightly like her. There is nothing starwars-kid-embarrasingly-hilarious about her, nor is she doing anything that hasn’t been done a million times before.

Putting my prejudice to one side however, her new found fame is undeniable. So I will let her have her moment of glory, because that is all it will be. I just find it strange that out of all the wierd and wonderful videos online, hers got picked out as something special. I am certain in 10 years time she will reflect on her rise to fame as something a little bit shameful. Warming the hearts of paedophiles and perverts is really nothing to be proud of.

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Q: What is Para-Para?

A: It is a style of dancing which is very popular amongst young people in Japan.

YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS VIDEO TO UNDERSTAND!

OR THIS ONE

I went to my first para-para club the other day and it was interesting to see such a cult part of Japanese culture live and kicking. If I compare it to line-dancing, then it I’m sure it would give you completely the wrong idea about what it is – there are no badly dressed, cowboy hat wearing middle-aged folk here, this is where the young and the stylish come to show off their arm-waving skills in strict routines set to euro-beat/trance/techno music.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of geeks here too. Para-para is not something you can just rock up to a club and “do”; you have to study hard and learn the moves. As a result there are a large proportion of “otaku” who study daily (probably) to perfect routines, and once they know them they go to a para-para club to show what they can do. Normally “Gyaru” (the really girly girls with tonnes of makeup, short skirts and perfectly curled hair) and “otaku” (geeks with no dress-sense, bowl haircuts and a curry based diet) never mix together under any circumstances, but this is perhaps the main exception to that rule!

My friend Mina took me. She is actually an instructor back in Texas, and its because of this style of dancing that she came to like Japan in the first place! She knows a good 300 or so routines, no mean feat if you ask me. Although the moves all look kind of similar, and there is a lot of repetition, naturally every song is different.

At the club itself, everyone dances in lines and the most experienced dance on the stage to remind everyone of the moves. Occasionally the DJ pulls out a record from the early 90’s which nobody knows and at that moment, there is usually one geek who will know it, and that is their moment to shine!

After a while the music really got to me though so I don’t think I will be trying to pick it up anytime soon, but then again its always fun to try things out so who knows! Let me know what you think of the two videos!

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