New Yorkers try on some Asian poses

New Yorkers try on some Asian poses

Can New Yorkers stand up to the Asian pose challenge? See how they fare in the 'cheek punch,' 'horns face' and more
Why do V-fingers suddenly appear -- every time a camera is near? Because just like me, they long to be… FOB. At least according to the Asian Poses website, a hilarious deconstruction of the hand symbols Asians make in front of cameras. I asked New Yorkers to give the cutesy gestures a go, and then did them myself, me being Asian and all. Whose V-fingers spelled victory? 5 is a perfect pose, while a 1 means it could use some work.

Flip through a gallery of Asian photos and you’ll undoubtedly encounter a sea of V-fingers. Winston Churchill popularized the gesture, but the fingers spread in Asia after skater Janet Lynn flashed it repeatedly during the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo. Note that the digits must be fully extended or you’ll veer into “air-quoting” territory, as demonstrated by this photographer.

The “confused” pose requires a hand on the head and a scrunched-up face that sighs, “Oh me, oh my, where and who am I?” This gentleman’s interpretation is spot on -- I can almost see the squiggly puff of smoke rising from his forehead.
New Yorkers, where’s your oomph? The fists may be clenched, but the fury in the face is lacking. Think Raging Bull. Think Taxi Driver! “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?”
Who knew self-injury could be so cute? Whenever I see the cheek-punch, I want to run up to the poser and pinch her cheeks. (Again, what is it with the self-damage?)

The small and large heart poses are not for the faint of… heart. A slight tilt of the fingers can skew the asymmetry, or worse, make you look like you’re holding a burger. I’d say this couple did pretty well for a first attempt.

Anime girls with pointy-ears -- and cats, for that matter -- put their hands to their cheeks and purr “nyan nyan.” This young woman gets points for both pose and expression. I dragged it into the “bad kitty” zone by baring my claws.

A successful “horns face” strikes a crucial balance between cute and naughty. Don’t be surprised if your newspaper is missing the crossword. Or if your decaf coffee turns out to be a double.

The viewer should think you’re dreaming and dozing -- even though you’re obviously standing up. Take away the hardhat and orange flag, and you’d think this young man was falling asleep to a bedtime story.

I was walking down Bleecker Street with my DSLR when these two guys called, “Hey, aren’t you going to take our picture?” I whirled around. “Sure. But can I ask you to spread both your palms under your chin?” The result: genuine surprise. Which is exactly what the pose is going for.

This NYPD officer’s pose is -- forgive the pun -- ok. Asian pop idols know how to stretch the outermost three fingers and make a perfect circle for the camera. I’ll admit I needed a few tries before I got a bull’s-eye.

The “finger-pointing-to-cheek” can come off as playful and teasing. Or, in my case, it can hint at being on the verge of tears. Yes, silly Asian poses have shades of meaning.

Hipster boys are far too detached and ironic for the “hey” hand. You’ve got to put your whole self into the wave. Say it louder -- embrace the absurd! As Rachel commented on the Asian Poses blog, “I think only Asians can pull that off.”

La Carmina writes about Harajuku pop culture and all things spooky-cute. She is the author of three books about Japanese pop culture and food, including "Cute Yummy Time" and "Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo" -- for which she did all the photos and illustrations. Both books were released in October, accompanied by a U.S. major city book tour.

For more, please visit her website.

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