Okay, I'm fairly advanced in my Japanese studies after having lived and taught in Japan for almost a year. However, one thing that continues to boggle me is the possibly most common word of all: かわいい。
I'm a 23 year-old young woman, and my elementary school students love calling me かわいい, most especially the girls. While I understand that the word can also mean "pretty" as well as "cute", being called this by a child makes me wonder if it's at all belittling? Maybe this is my English perception of "cute", but a child calling me that just seems like they're making me a child. Is there perhaps a different nuance to this word that I wasn't aware of?