In the west, there’s a wide range of stores selling affordable and cute fashion marketed towards teens, such as H&M, TopShop, Zara and Forever 21. But in Japan, one of the most popular places for picking up cute clothes is the interestingly named chain store Cecil McBee. With a name seemingly pilfered for some bizarre reason from Tulsa-born jazz musician Cecil McBee (he even tried to sue, but was unsuccessful), the chain has stores across Japan, with a main store located inside the trendy 109 shopping centre in Shibuya.
Now, however, the chain is branching out from fashion to release a range of educational books aimed at junior high school girls with adorably kawaii covers and illustrations. After all, you still want to look cute while you’re studying, don’t you?
The Cecil McBee Study Collection consists of three books which aim to make studying cuter. They feature reversible jackets, sticker sheets, and sticky notes, and (ostensibly) follow the three years of Japan’s junior high school education syllabus. Tough subjects are made easier to digest with the inclusion of text message conversation screen shots, “girls’ talk”, and accompanying illustrations.
One of the subjects covered is English, and we’re pleased to say everything looks ship-shape here. Indeed, all the girly basics are covered, including “Let’s go shopping!” “Do you have a smartphone?” and “Please look at me!
▼ Suddenly, snakes.
▼ There’s also social studies, with information on traditional dress around the world…
The books went on sale on August 15 and retail for 1,800 yen (US$15) each. We don’t claim to be experts on the Japanese school system, so we’re not 100% sure whether the books are actually legitimate study aids which Cecil McBee has been tasked with giving a cute makeover to, or simply a fun product designed for Cecil McBee fans who want something cute to carry around in their schoolbag. The series is published, however, by medical journal and educational materials publisher Gakken, so we’re assuming everything is above-board academically speaking. Plus, they really are VERY cute!
Making everyday things adorably adorable is definitely a Japanese art. We’d probably have been more inclined to study way back when if we’d had fun learning materials like these. What do you think of these study guides?
These books are actually not only for Japanese students, but can also be used for students of Japanese, or Japanese teachers abroad looking for new materials.
Source and images: PR Times