The Diceman Cometh


Yesterday was opening day for Fenway Park and the Boston Red Socks. Tonight will be the Fenway debut of their new star pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka, a.k.a. The Diceman. The Sox shelled out $100 million dollars to lure Daisuke to Boston from the land of the rising sun. In their home country, Daisuke and his wife, a former television presenter, are like the Posh and Becks of Japan. And like Posh and Becks, who have also come to the United States to start a new, obscenely highly paid life, the Matsuzakas are no doubt experiencing a bit of culture shock.

Dunkin' Donuts and the Red Sox – two Boston institutions. Looks like he's fitting in already.

Another example of East-Meets-West cultural intermingling is Tokidoki. Tokidoki's cute, anime-style artwork has been a favorite of pop culture fans for a few years, and is now gaining mainstream popularity thanks to some lucrative licensing deals. When I first saw Tokidoki's bags for Le Sportsac last winter, I assumed the artist was a cute Japanese girl who loved Hello Kitty and the Powerpuff Girls. Was I wrong! Tokidoki is neither Japanese nor female. Tokidoki is, in fact, an Italian man by the name of Simone Legno. Simone was so enamored of Japanese art and pop culture that he uses it as his inspiration for his designs, replete with hip Japanese women on cell phones, as well as cute, non-sensical things like baby supermen in diapers, pirate monkeys, and stars with happy faces (how very Japanese).

Last winter I managed to snag the last Tokidoki LeSportsac bag at the Macy's in Stamford, CT when they went on sale right after Christmas, and got it for a great price. I bought the "Bella" style (above). This is the Spring 2007 version. All of the Tokidoki LeSportsac bags come with a "qee" keychain (qee chain?). Qee is Tokidoki's signature character. Solid-color metallic qee keychains are also sold separately on the LeSportsac website.

I get a lot of compliments on my Tokidoki bag because it's so cute and unusual. Tokidoki LeSportsac bags are available at Le Sportsac and Tokidoki For LeSportsac. The bags are kind of pricey. The "Bella" sells for $130, and it's one of their smaller bags.

A more affordable way to own a Tokidoki design is to purchase some of the makeup from the Tokidoki collection from Smashbox Cosmetics. Following the popularity of Tokidoki's handbags, Smashbox launched their Spring 2007 limited edition range of eye shadow quads, lip gloss, skin luminizer, and cheek tints featuring Tokidoki's trademark designs on the packaging. They range in price from $18 to $30. They are available from Smashbox.com.

Will the Diceman overcome the clash of cultures to lead the Red Socks to the World Series this year? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, I'm all for exploring international relations through handbags and lipgloss.

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