Cholita-san: the Aymara otaku and tiktoker who is an anime reference in Bolivia

Bolivian Aymara Cristina Mamani, better known as Cholita-san, shows her items in her store, on June 7, 2022, in La Paz, Bolivia. (EFE / Martin Alipaz)

The covid-19 pandemic tested the strength of the Bolivian Aymara Christina Mamani and left him a lesson in resilience, in addition to a great love for anime and manga that today help him survive and, in addition, has earned him the nickname of Cholita-san by other “otakus” or followers of Japanese cartoons and animated films.

mamani proudly wears her traditional cholita dress, with a blouse, bowler hat and skirts, although sometimes she replaces the blanket with a short kimono similar to that of shinobuhis favorite character in the series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.

Nor does he hesitate to put on the typical green cape of Attack on Titanor fantasy jewelry with the symbol of that popular Japanese series, in addition to knowing by heart the names of the fashionable characters in the “otaku” world.

“For me, anime has been an example, culture and value, that’s what I’ve learned,” he said in an interview at the accessories store that he started a little over a year ago with his sons Ronald and Brian.

Born in the Quilloma canton, in the Pacajes province of La Paz, the Cholita-san She said that she is the daughter of farmers, an activity that she has not forgotten and that she usually does when she visits her community, or Qorpa, her mother’s homeland, also located in the highlands of La Paz.

The tireless woman is “mom and dad” to her children and has done everything to support her family, from street food and soft drink sales to housework, she explained.

The covid-19 pandemic tested the strength of Bolivian Aymara Cristina Mamani and left her with a lesson in resilience, in addition to a great love of anime and manga that today help her survive (EFE/ Martín Alipaz)
The covid-19 pandemic tested the strength of Bolivian Aymara Cristina Mamani and left her with a lesson in resilience, in addition to a great love of anime and manga that today help her survive (EFE/ Martín Alipaz)

His two “treasures” opened the doors to the world of Japanese animation, because since they were little they liked to watch series or collect some objects.

And although he admits that at the time he “didn’t understand much” about that hobby, he didn’t hesitate to accompany them to anime fan conventions and events.

mamani She remembers some funny anecdotes, like the time they had to camp to enter an event and it rained all night. Or when she wanted to confiscate her children’s Yu-Gi-Oh! because she thought “it was a bad thing”.

“But today I see that all the characters are an art, they are a ‘cosplay’ that demonstrates an example, a teaching in a different way,” he said.

Pandemic and twist

The Aymara decided to open the Anime Store Bolivia, due to the demand of her clients (EFE/ Martín Alipaz)
The Aymara decided to open the Anime Store Bolivia, due to the demand of her clients (EFE/ Martín Alipaz)

The life of mamani He changed completely when he got sick with covid-19 and almost all his savings went into treatments to get cured.

“We no longer had anything to eat. There my two children started selling anime kangaroos (sweatshirts) out of desperation, ”she confessed.

The young people used TikTok to promote the products, but someone reported them and all their content was removed, causing Mommy, still convalescing, decided to get involved in the initiative and also learn about anime.

This is how he began to star in TikTok videos and due to the growing demand of his clients who asked if they had a fixed place of sale, they decided to open the Anime Store Bolivia store.

Thus was born the Cholita-san, Baptized like this by her followers and clients, perhaps initially surprised “to see a woman in a skirt” promoting the culture of Japanese animation, she said.

Cholita “otaku”

Her fanaticism has led her to make a complete outfit, that is, a blouse, skirt and short kimono with the colors worn by Shinobu, her favorite character (EFE/ Martín Alipaz)
Her fanaticism has led her to make a complete outfit, that is, a blouse, skirt and short kimono with the colors worn by Shinobu, her favorite character (EFE/ Martín Alipaz)

The Cholita-san she does not hide her fondness for anime and manga and declares herself “proud to be able to support” her children “and move forward together in this undertaking”.

mamani defends the teachings left by Japanese comics that are, in her opinion, “an example for all young people” and for herself.

“For example, I identify with shinobuwhich is from the anime Kimetsu no Yaibathen I have seen that she is a woman who fights” to defend her family, she explained.

His fanaticism has led him to make a complete costume, that is, a blouse, skirt and short kimono with the colors he wears. shinobuclothing that he wore together with a katana in the recent march for the “Geek Pride Day” in La Paz.

Cholita-san, who is also a leader in her community, regrets that some do not understand this hobby or accuse her of wanting to change the dress of the Aymara. (EFE / Martin Alipaz)
Cholita-san, who is also a leader in her community, regrets that some do not understand this hobby or accuse her of wanting to change the dress of the Aymara. (EFE / Martin Alipaz)

mamani He confessed that participating in this activity was like being 15 years old again, since he was able to share with other “otakus” and valued that these young people prefer to “dedicate themselves to reading” manga or watching anime “than being in bars or with bad friends” .

The Cholita-san She regrets that some do not understand this hobby, that they make fun of her or accuse her of wanting to modify the clothing of the Aymaras.

“I want to clarify that this is a cosplay, it is an art, it is not that I am modifying,” he said.

Mommy, who is also a leader in his community, shows off his knowledge of anime when he greets customers at the store, even giving them suggestions on what to wear.

“I still have a lot to learn, I will continue learning until God gives me life. But in this I can only thank my two children, my two great loves that I have, “she concluded excitedly.

Source: EFE

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