A Personal Ikoku Meiro no Croisée Note: Kisses and Boundaries

alice blanche ikoku meiro no croisee kimono lolita fashion takeda hinata yune

The most significant cultural differences are often the smallest things. Something as simple as a greeting can reveal ideas and societal behaviors that are worlds apart. Ikoku Meiro no Croisée, an adorable short anime about a little Japanese girl “lost” in the city of Paris, does a nice job of highlighting some of these details of life. [1]

Ikoku Meiro no Croisee Alice Yune yuri cute

Ikoku Meiro no Croisee Alice Yune yuri flushed kiss

A kiss on the cheeks from Alice sends Yune into a fluster. The kiss is a small social gesture to indicate friendliness. For Alice, this is a common form of greeting. For Yune, however, the kiss is a surprising breach of her intimate space. And it shows on her troubled, panicked, blushing face. When Yune finally realizes the social meanings behind cheek kissing, she wonders about her place in the ironwork shop, and in a broader sense, where she lies in Paris.

I imagine it must be pretty difficult for Yune to adjust to this new world. The cultural differences go beyond just the fashion, or the food, or the locals—those are the fun, easy aspects. [2] On the other hand, behavioral expectations and nuances in social interactions are much harder to grasp. Alice’s greeting is the cherry on top of a culmination of experiences that may seem strange, and possibly even offensive, to Yune’s own cultural sense.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisee Alice cheek kiss Yune yuri

I found this little kiss especially memorable because of some loose parallels to my recent experiences. I have been in Taiwan for about five months now, which is longer than any of my other stays here since I left over a decade ago. The social attitudes, relationship maturities, and even some general behaviors are all just a bit unlike what I am used to.

While rarely is there anything so pronounced as Alice’s cheek kiss—the cultural clashes are a little subtler than that—I am still reminded of how someone described me a few months ago. In her accented English, she said I was very “aggressive.” She had further thought that quality stemmed from a fundamental difference in our cultural attitudes and approaches (though I am not sure that culture entirely accounts for this.) In her eyes, I am the super sexual, aggressive American, who loves to push past personal physical boundaries.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisee Alice Blanche kiss Yune yuri

So when I saw Alice giving Yune that kiss, I smiled. What seems so natural to Alice may actually be a forceful sexual advance to Yune.

alice blanche ikoku meiro no croisee inoue hideki nekomimi yune

Oh Alice, you are too aggressive~ ♥


  1. AJtheFourth talks a little bit about another slice of those details, baths—
    Finding an Oasis in a Foreign Labyrinth: Japanese Bathing Culture in Ikoku Meiro no Croisée.
  2. More on the fashion spot in Ikoku Meiro no Croisée and culture—
    Paris Haute Croisée: Culture Fascination and Identity in Ikoku Meiro no Croisée.
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49 Responses to A Personal Ikoku Meiro no Croisée Note: Kisses and Boundaries

  1. Vampire(G)Girl says:

    Its a really cute review you did on this one, here in south africa the greeting of one another is done by the personal experience you have with the other person.

  2. ajthefourth says:

    Nice post. ^ ^ Regardless of cultural differences, I hope you’re settling in well and finding your rhythm.

    • Yi says:

      Thank you, Em. I’m super glad you enjoyed it since I kind of, in my mind, think of this as a loose continuation of your guest post.

      I’m getting there slowly, but doing much better than a few months ago. I’ll eventually find my rhythm and impose that rhythm into life here.

      Cheers, sweetie. ♥ ^ ^

  3. Kai says:

    What a kissy and aggressive post~ ♥
    I guess that’s what good about Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, showing the cultural differences between the east and the west, in plain moe form ❤

    • Yi says:

      Haha, I guess it is pretty kissy and aggressive. ^ ^

      Indeed, the culture thing is my favorite thing about Ikoku Meiro no Croisee. The anime isn’t always too subtle with it, but it is fun to watch and compare to my own experiences.

  4. Overlord-G says:

    Now you know why Alice has been my #1 since the show began. I never once put her in 2nd place to Camille. She truly loved and wanted her darling Yune. Too bad she didn’t win any awards.

    Back on topic, it’s the basic principle of adjusting to foreign customs. I personally haven’t experienced anything like that so I sadly can’t share any in depth analysis on such things. So you were described as aggressive once, eh? Interesting misconception on the other person’s part…OR WAS IT?! Teehee.

    • Yi says:

      I’ve always known Alice is your favorite. ^ ^
      Whether I like her more than Camille, however, is still up in the air. I do like my classy, smart ojous. Heh. Still, Alice is a delight!

      Yea, there’s so many little things that I often have to take a more than a few seconds to adjust to. The social scene (and what’s cool and interesting) is also quite different. Conversation topics, rhetoric, humor, game… All of that have to be adapted. It’s a lot.

      “Interesting misconception on the other person’s part…OR WAS IT?! Teehee.”
      I wonder~ Hehe.

  5. gozieson says:

    For me, living in Malaysia means you’d have to understand and respect each others race, customs and religion. We Malaysians are born and raised to be open-minded about everyone’s opinion and to help each other, regardless of skin color, when they are in need of help.

    Though there seems to be a trend going on that we prefer to accept each other by finding a common ground to work with. We find interests that we like and we start from there and we start to understand each other better. When this happens, we know that slowly, we as a country can unite to protect and beautify our motherland.

    Of course there will be others who will think differently about others. So long as everyone respects each other and is willing to help out others in any way, I can safely say that this world would be much more peaceful and harmonious.

    • Yi says:

      Oh certainly. Malaysia is a fascinating mix of difference cultures and groups co-existing under one country. ^ ^ Common ground, acceptance, tolerance are indeed some of the most important things, not just in Malaysia, but in all societies.

      I think there’s a slight difference between accepted social behaviors/ attitudes and cultural customs. In every society, there’s a fairly specific set of societal expectations (e.g. things like life’s pace, behaviors, attitudes, priorities…etc.) that is accepted by that society. And deviations from that are often looked at with a suspecting eye, understandably. And unlike a culture’s customs or skin color, this is a little more subtle, but also more demanding in terms of acceptance and adjusting. I can kind of understand how some people can be accepting of other cultures, but at the same time, find it hard to accept a different society’s attitudes toward things.

      I’m not sure if I explained it well, but yea… ^ ^

      In any case, we are definitely on the same page in terms of acceptance and stuff. Thanks for reading!

      • gozieson says:

        It’s true that there will always be a status quo to adhere to in many parts of the world, though we will gradually have the feel of what those rules are as we go on in a new place. The most important thing is to be open-minded and be careful of your actions when you first visit a place and don’t push ideas onto others when they are not ready to accept it.

        • Yi says:

          “we will gradually have the feel of what those rules are as we go on in a new place.”
          I think so. It takes some time, but keeping an open-mind, and just being mindful of a society’s ways help.

  6. Cell says:

    It’s so funny. In Taiwan, when you go out for a walk around the neighborhood, you don’t greet anyone you don’t know. And in America, whenever someone passes me when they are say, walking their dog, they smile and say hello as they pass by-as if they actually know who I am. Maybe it’s just because my neighborhood is too friendly…or is it because I’m too shy?

    • Yi says:

      Yea, exactly. It’s these little things that I find pretty hard to get used to. I always say “hi” and smile to people I lock eyes with on the streets back in California, and people return the gesture. But here, it’s a lot less common. Or how people are kind of rude in traffic and don’t give enough personal space (in my opinion) on the streets, in crowded rooms, and certainly, on the metro. And of course, when it comes to social interactions, the values we have are vastly different, especially when it comes to maturity and topic interests.

      Taiwan’s a funny place. ^ ^

  7. hoshiko says:

    I remember that scene, I smiled too. It’s one of the perfect examples to show how different the variety of cultures can be. But we will learn I guess. We will learn to adapt to our current surroundings.

  8. Cely_belly says:

    I come from a Mexican background and it’s not uncommon to greet by kissing on the cheeks, but we all also keep in mind that we are big on gender so men accustom to shaking the hands of other men and only kissing women as women greet other women with a kiss. We also don’t tend to greet people with a kiss unless it’s close family and friends. It’s funny. Nice post.

    • Yi says:

      Ahh interesting. What a big difference between where I am and your Mexican background. I think here, it’s a lot different. Forget kisses. Even hugs are rarely seen, especially between two friends of different genders. People are a lot more hesitant about physical contact. On the other hand, when I live in the US, I do hug everyone a lot (but not as much cheek kissing). In either case, I personally prefer more contact than less, but yea, just another thing I’d eventually have to get used to.

      Thanks for the comment, Cely_belly. ^ ^

  9. Nopy says:

    With globalization picking up in pace, I think this’ll become less of a problem in the future, but I can certainly see where cultural differences might clash in the 1900’s and even today. At least there aren’t many things you can accidently do that’ll land you in serious trouble.

    • Yi says:

      Hm… I wonder. Subtle differences in social interactions are as much products of culture as they are of societies. Cheek kisses are a cultural gesture, but comfort with contact have other factors (though culture is probably the biggest influence).

      But yes, with increasing globalization, these things are good things to think about. And hopefully, I won’t get into serious trouble. Haha.

  10. Its funny, have you ever walked in a crowed and not bump or slide into someone els. Here its like ppl do there best not to touch one another even on a crowded street or a packed building. We look like race car drivers trying to win a race without making an accident.

    • Yi says:

      I get that feeling where I am sometimes, except I’m the one squeezing by people. Taipei’s such a densely populated city; there’s a crowd everywhere. Here, it’s not too uncommon to get brushed by people, especially on the metro. It’s a funny scene actually if you really stop to look at the fast crowds.

      I do miss the quiet, slow suburban life, or even the wide streets of Berkeley.

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  12. I wonder if they ever made a anime of goukujou drops

  13. Wieselhead says:

    Personally I never had a cultural clash with someone, living on the countryside you know ^^
    But I think its acually quite rude to be called agressive, when your actually aren’t.

    It was so Yune like not to complain about being kissed out of nowhere 😀
    Aside from that who would complain about being kissed by Alice? maybe Claude.

    • Yi says:

      I’m sure in the countryside, you have your own sets of culture and societal “rules” that are fascinating. ^ ^

      In any case, she didn’t really call me aggressive in a mean way. It was more like just a matter of fact, just the way I am kind of.

      Agreed about Yune!! Her reactions are so cute!! And yes, who wouldn’t want a kiss from Alice? ♥

  14. ayame says:

    Kisses are always interesting topic to talk about in multicultural frame.
    If you haven’t taken a look at my reviews on Ikoku, do so. I think you’ll find them interesting. I’ve tried to add a France vs Japan section to each one of them. I’ve also got links about the kiss that you might like to read

    • Yi says:

      Oh yes, lovely reviews. I remember reading some of your Ikoku Meiro no Croisee posts. It’s super fun to explore the cultural differences, and I think you do a wonderfully detailed job at them. ^ ^

      Anyway, I remember someone told me once that Croisee gets some of the details of France and I myself have criticized the anime for being too idealistic with Yune’s “Japanese” character. But still, I think just showing the clash of cultures is already more than fascinating. And for me, the anime is also about how Yune reacts to and interacts with this new environment than just the differences in culture.

      Thanks for reading, Ayame!

  15. SnippetTee says:

    I remembered that scene it’s one of the most dokidoki moments and my favourite on the series.

    Aside from the societal behaviours and determining the boundaries, I guess kissing is also about that simple yet symbolic message that you would like to put forward. I mean you have different kinds of kisses: cheek kiss, hand kiss, forehead kiss, smooch… and many more. So I guess, the gesture on how you do it will also influence how you want it to be perceived.

    • Yi says:

      Haha, yea. There are so many hhnnnnggg-worthy moments in Ikoku Meiro no Croisee–Yune and Alice are both just too cute–but this scene has to be the most dokidoki one so far for me.

      Good point on kisses. Kisses, at its most simplistic, beneath all the politeness or passion, are displays of affection and closeness. The difference across cultures then is how much affection is proper for display. And to be honest, this is hard to grasp. (I almost feel like I’m a bit too flirty in Taiwan sometimes loll.)

      Oh well~ ^ ^

  16. Persocom says:

    Having been trapped in this United States for the entirety of my life (aside from a small trip to Mexico) I have had a few small exchanges of such cultural differences upon meeting people from other places. None of them so much as what you would have going to another country though. I have had a few of these exchanges online though. Even the foods we eat that gross others out can tell a lot about a culture. Yune and Alice are an ideal example though, and I loved the interactions between them. Hope you are doing well in Taiwan.

    • Yi says:

      The internet does indeed allow some form of culture exchange, and give us glimpses of others’ lives. I think that’s one of the reasons I really enjoy interacting with people online. And it’s so true about the food; there are so many things here that I don’t think I could ever get used to eating. Tortoise, for example. At the same time though, I surprise myself sometimes with the stuff I learn to love. Boba tea, stinky tofu, and so many more.

      Thanks for the good wishes, Persocom. I hope you’re doing splendid yourself!!

  17. Akito_Kinomoto says:

    You had me convinced this was totally not a yuri series until that last picture, but I digress. I would wager that after 220+ anime watched I can spot most, if not all, of the nuances in Japanese culture so anything in a foreign setting relative to most otakudom backdrops is always refreshing. However, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way in terms of inter-cultural interaction so much as the behavior being self-contained, so congratulations you just convinced me to watch Ikoku Meiro. It’d be interesting to see how familiar and unfamiliar subtleties come together. Pun intended.

    • Yi says:

      Haha, it seems like my yuri goggles tend to bleed into my posts too much. ^ ^

      You have a great point. Japanese culture, as well as those of so many other regions, have been portrayed in detail in so many anime, but the interactions among cultures not as much. It’s definitely super refreshing to see, and that’s one of the reasons I love Ikoku Meiro no Croisee so much!

      I hope you enjoy it as well. And loll at the pun. Oh you~ ♥

      Thanks for visiting darling!!

  18. Ryan A says:

    This episode is one of my favorites from Croisee and partially because of this intimate cultural gap. Alice kisses Yune’s cheek without hesitation, as she feels very confident in their friendship. It’s quite telling of Alice’s admiration for young Yune. She is mesmerized and captivated by Yune and she brings so much positivity to the group; there’s something about Alice’s attitude that makes us feel good. In any case, the dialog just after Alice’s kiss is where a cultural norms gains momentum as an emotional element in Yune’s story. Alice makes it clear:

    “If they don’t kiss you, it means they haven’t accepted you yet.”

    This warming scene suddenly edged into darker territory. Yune loses her blush as her face grows concern. There is a sense of self-consciousness about her place with Oscar and Claude due to Alice’s statement. There is no need to blame Alice, I’m sure she did not intend for Yune to worry. But it was very clear how this affected Yune, with her becoming stressed, sick, and feverish.

    Alice’s kiss was fun but not without consequence, yet Claude’s kiss is where the episode became emotionally satisfying. Despite the unfamiliar act of kissing, Yune understood and took Alice’s words to heart. Where we see Alice’s kiss as a kiss, a surprise to Yune, Claude’s kiss soothes the soul and alleviates her worry. It’s beautiful how the same action can carry more or less significance when context is involved. Croisee did well to make this apparent, and it is no different from our reality.

    “You must remember this, a kiss is but a kiss..” but sometimes we are in need, sometimes unaware, and when it happens, it’s like becoming whole again. Kisses are so powerful, even if often trivial.

    Sometimes your kiss is rain and other times, a tsunami. *wink

    • Yi says:

      I think you nailed exactly what makes Alice such a darling. It’s that confidence and excitement she has for life around her. It’s adorable and warm.

      And I love what Alice says as well. I feel almost as if she’s being slightly manipulative with those words, and that’s what makes her sos great. It clearly works as Yune is totally affected by them. I agree though that Alice didn’t have bad intentions toward Yune, but it’s just her way of showing her superiority.

      Yes! Claude’s kiss is much more meaningful. Perhaps part of why it’s even more so is that the kiss closer to Yune’s understanding of kisses. For her, they are not just casual greetings between intimate, but instead, something used to show significant emotions. And we see she has a much calmer reaction to Claude.

      “You must remember this, a kiss is but a kiss..” but sometimes we are in need, sometimes unaware, and when it happens, it’s like becoming whole again. Kisses are so powerful, even if often trivial.”
      Beautiful words~

      And haha, yes indeed. My kisses are… ♥
      I have yours are as well, Ry. ^ ^

  19. feal87 says:

    true considerations Yi, depending on the culture a simple gesture like a kiss can heavily change in meaning.

    by the way… I would not be angry if the author would randomly insert some Yuri scene in Ikoku Meiro no Croiseè…:Q__

  20. Seems like I’ll have to check this series out. It seems cute. :3

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  23. Choco Titi says:

    I’m glad that I watched this series. And that is thanks to your review. So I just want to thank you.
    Thanks a lot for the review.

    • Yi says:

      Hehe. This post is actually just firing off a few personal impressions and thoughts. I’ll probably be writing a more extensive, technical review later.

      In any case, I am glad you enjoyed the post and the series! Thank you so much for the kind words, darling. ^ ^

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