First of all, thank you to everyone who has purchased Mienja T-shirts! Thank you so much for your support!
I introduced the “Mienja” project on Facebook back in January 2012, but just recently started printing and selling the actual T-shirts. While the project has been very well-received, I came across a comment a couple weeks ago that questioned the definition of “Mienja” and the concern about how the term could potentially confuse those who don’t know about the Mien people.
First of all, if it isn’t obvious, the term “Mienja” combines the words “Mien” and “Ninja,” which is simply a play on words that evolved into cartoon characters. Wikipedia defines “Ninja” as “a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan who specialized in unorthodox warfare. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations.” Scary! Now, who would want to be associated with such an antagonistic character, right? Well, think of the training one would have to go through in order to obtain the legendary skills of a Ninja. “Some abilities purported to be in the province of Ninja training include invisibility, walking on water, and control over the natural elements.” I don’t know about you, but invisibility and walking on water is pretty damn cool!
It’s great to be knowledgeable about what Ninjas were in feudal Japan, but we’re in the 21st century so forget about all that negativity for a moment and think about the modern day, western Ninja, i.e. the Navy Seal. In almost every way, Navy Seal agents are trained and programmed to function just like Ninjas. They both possess combat skills at the highest level and both practice infiltration and assassination (when necessary) in combat situations. It takes a lot of discipline, dedication, and training to be as skilled as a Navy Seal agent or a Ninja. Being associated with or compared to these professionals with such legendary skills should actually be taken as a compliment. It’s an honor.
Ninjas (and Navy Seals) are well-known. In comparison, the Mien people are virtually unknown to the world. So, by combining “Mien” and “Ninja” to form a word that people don’t know, they might ask you what it means when they read it. When they do, if you know your Mien history, it will be your opportunity to educate them on who the Mien people are.
Finally, my intent was to create more awareness by associating Mien with the modern perception of what a Ninja is; cool, skillful, specialized, and masterful. If you’re reading this and you still think that the term “Mienja” is a “no no” because it’s negatively connecting the Mien people to an antagonistic character, please don’t take it too seriously. After all, it’s just a cartoon =)
UPDATE: Just thought I’d post the picture below to support the harmlessness of associating anything with “Ninja” in the modern world. It was on the side of the very bus I was riding on during lunch so I took a picture of it.
Have you ever been to a Super Bowl party where one of the guys knows absolutely nothing about the game? He also might be distracted by other things of more interest to him. Whatever it is, that guy probably shouldn’t be there. Definitely don’t let that guy be you! Watch the latest CHAOTIME video below to save you or a friend some embarrassment.
Here he is. The official CHAOTIME “Mienja” character. T-shirt production will begin very soon! Subscribe to CHAOTIME on the left to be notified when shirts are ready to be ordered. Usage without permission strictly prohibited!
The Legin restaurant off of Division and 82nd in SE Portland was packed last Saturday, March 28th. with guests who helped celebrate the union of John and Helen. Mien weddings have evolved and come a long way in terms of ceremonial practices. Where traditional Mien weddings used to be a 3 to 4 day event (including preparations), a half day of festivities with a mix of abbreviated traditional customs and some adopted western culture is enough to complete a Mien wedding nowadays.
It was a pretty busy day for me but I still had fun seeing everyone enjoy themselves, especially the bride and groom. Congratulations to John & Helen!
Here are some pictures that I took at the wedding.