La Carmina Interview

la carmina

As well as hanging out with visual kei bands in ninja restaurants, La Carmina designs and blogs daily about harajuku/roccoco clothing and is the spookycute author of ‘Cute Yummy Time’. La Carmina tells us all about her cat with no ears.

What was the last thing to make you laugh?

Your interview questions – especially the ones about my earless cat! I love when I’m asked about offbeat matters, so thank you for this enchanting grab-bag.

You grew up in Canada. What was it like coming to Asia for the first time?

I was only a year old when I first traveled to Asia. The fifteen hour flight to Hong Kong was an ordeal, but I refused to sleep. As my parents carried me through Mong Kok, I turned my head in every direction, captivated by the neon lights. A portend of things to come!

Reality is a funny, magical place. How do you go about turning real life into a spooky-cute wonderland?

Start with a pound of curiosity; mix with flamboyance, decadence, and a generous dash of wit; heat until all self-doubt evaporates. Serve at a mad tea party with your like-minded friends.

Is there a phrase that means spooky-cute in Japanese?

There’s no direct translation, but two words that sound similar – kowai and kawaii – respectively mean scary and cute.

You enrolled in law school and got accepted in Yale. With your subcultural outlook, was it hard for you to stay and finish the course?

I was “subculturally spoiled” until I went to law school; I grew up in ultra-liberal Vancouver and went to university in New York City, a city full of eccentrics and creatives. That wasn’t the case at Yale. I realized my life needed a subcultural connection, so I used my time in school to figure out how I wanted to get plugged in.

One of your most recent books is called ‘Cute Yummy Time‘. It features 70 recipes for the cutest food you’ll ever eat. Did you make all these kawaii recipes and photograph them yourself?

Yes, in addition to writing a Kawaii-Land adventure story and drawing Japanese-style characters for every page!

Do they all use Asian ingredients?

Most of the recipes use Western ingredients to make “cute cooking” more accessible to English-speakers. But the character design is authentic and the spirit of making nutritious, delicious “happy meals” prevails – and there’s a section for cute sushi rolls.

You’ve written and photographed the fabulous ‘Crazy, Wacky Theme restaurants‘. It’s an odyssey of all the strangest Tokyo restaurants known to man. What strange, delightful eating places did you find?

I dined with the Phantom of the Opera, Hello Kitty, fake Shinto temple girls, vampires, ghosts, ninjas, mental hospital escapees, and waiter-monkeys. Those who read my book are amazed that I survived the experience!

What would La Carmina’s dream restaurant be like?

A ridiculous Rococo parlour with an absinthe fountain… a dozen resident Scottish Fold cats… desserts shaped like cute anime characters… and live music by Visual Kei (glam J-rock) bands.

You’ve mentioned you suffer from OCD. We are sorry to hear that.

Sigh, where do I begin? Generally speaking, when something piques my interest, I become obsessively excited about it (you can gleam this from my blog and Twitter). As for specific OCD – keep me away from jars full of dirty coins. A friend nearly spilled some pennies on me and I screamed. I feel uncomfortable interacting with antique furniture, especially when there’s dust and crumbs in the cracks (Billy Bob Thornton shares this phobia). I really, really enjoy filling out forms. The list goes on but I’ll stop there…

Your poor cat has no ears. AND he comes from a celebrity background. Can you tell us more about your cat?

Basil Farrow is another OCD fixation of mine (he even has his own blog). He’s a Scottish Fold cat, hence the tiny folded ears. Actress Mia Farrow is his grandma and her son Ronan is his daddy, and we all love him to bits. Then daddy met mommy, and little Basil Farrow decided to follow her around for now (or maybe she stole him?). Basil’s a sweet, big-eyed, pouty blond who loves the camera… it’s all in the family!

Your cat is, both inside and out, a bit of a superstar. Is he willing to share his success with you? Do you collaborate together on projects?

Basil Farrow is a total rock star. He has rabid fans on his blog and Facebook, and his YouTube videos have tens of thousands of views. Basil is my muse: he poses with me in photos and co-stars in my “cute cooking” videos. He’s also one of the main characters in my Cute Yummy Time recipe book (yes, I thank him in the acknowledgements!).

If you built your own kingdom, what rules would it have?

It’s funny – I don’t fantasize about how the world could be different. I consider it a game, and I surely do like to play it! The world has obstacles, but who says you can’t para-para around them?

What comes next in your life?

Only my kitty knows what’s next… and he isn’t telling anyone…