...... no matter how much it looks like it.
But I made that mistake with Tokidoki, a lifestyle brand that has the cutest and most iconic characters. I still remember the first time I encountered the world of Tokidoki a number of years ago, when I was attracted to a line of LeSportsac bags featuring Tokidoki characters (a collaboration between the two brands). Although I did not buy a bag in the end, the memory of these bags stuck with me for a very long time (my relationship with bags are long and tumultuous.) From then on, I was certain Tokidoki was a Japanese brand - it has a Japanese name, Japanese inspired characters (I especially loved the Cactus Friends and Skeletrino and Skeletrina) ... I did not need to be convinced further.
And since these were cartoons, and I was too OLD to be obsessive about cartoons (a key factor why I did not get the LeSportsac bag despite loving the look), I also did not do the usual "search the Internet for more information" thing, and carried my illusion (delusion?) until 2010 when I was volunteering at the Singapore Toys, Games and Comics Convention (STGCC) that I realised to my great embarrassment that the creater was an Italian artist, Simone Legno from Rome!!!
I met the man himself, the absolute sweetest man possible, while ferrying Mori Chack around (see my post on Mori Chack here.) Apparently, the real story is, Simone (yeah we are on first name basis - he is just so super friendly!) like moi, is highly inspired by Japan and its culture, and hence he created the world of Tokidoki which has become a leading fashion trend since it was launched in 2005 from its Los Angeles base. Although it is not a Japanese brand (yes, "F" for general knowledge), Tokidoki has collaborated with several major Japanese companies like Sanrio for Hallo Kitty, ASICS for Onitsuka Tiger, Fujitsu etc on cross-over products.
So what was a helpless, miserably paid volunteer like moi to do? Faced with a charming and humble Italian man, to-die-for cute Japanese inpired cartoons, I of course capitulated and went on a massive buying spree of Tokidoki products (nevermind about the old and obsessive part). I bought a limited SingPost edition jigsaw puzzle-cum-stamp collection, several T-shirts for myself and Samurai T and a Tokidoki bag. (Mind you, this is on top of my Gloomy and Tofu-Oyako purchases!!) Talk about lack of self-control. THANKS, FRIEND (yes, you, the one who dragged me into this sorry affair in the first place.)
On the bright side I am pleased to announce I have just completed the 500-piece puzzle with Samurai T in a single day (that lazy bugger only contributed to one third of the puzzle), which I intend to frame up soon.
(P.S I file this post under J-Pop because it is also considered part of Japanese culture - I think.)
A pic with Simone Legno with my Tokidoki bag purchase. That poor man just finished one and a half hours of a signing session for fans, and yet he willingly agreed to a photo with me.
The completed jigsaw puzzle. I have a severe backache because of this, plus wonky knees from squatting down too much.
The special tin box in which the puzzle and stamps came in. Check out the Singapore Merlion and the various Singapore road signs. Cool!
A close up of Simone's drawing of a Cactus Friend and his signature. For keepsake!