How to hang with Hello Kitty around the world
The fancy feline with the most FB fans (15 million-plus, take that Grumpy Cat), Hello Kitty turns 40 today! What began as a super-kawaii cat cartoon, officially born in 1974, is now a global icon recognised by her choice of hair adornment (red bow) and lack of expression (said to be deliberate so people can project their own feelings onto her face).
The brainchild of Japanese company Sanrio, Hello Kitty now has her own airplane, several theme parks in her honour and heaps of questionable product endorsements (Hello Kitty toasters, credit cards and lip glosses, anyone?). So, if you’re not at the Hello Kitty Con 2014 global gathering in LA to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the world’s top cat, here’s where to raise your saucer of milk to the saucy minx with the mostest.
1. Fly on the Hello Kitty plane
Cosplay jetsetters will want to get their mitts on tickets aboard EVA Air’s special A330-300 liner complete with Hello Kitty livery. The Taiwan-based carrier, a.k.a. the ‘Magic Jet’ is the first of three Hello Kitty planes flying from Taipei for EVA Air with specially decorated cabins (Hello Kitty cushions!) and character-themed plates and even food! It’s the cat’s whiskers! Meow!
2. Eat a Hello Kitty burger
No, the other white meat! Chow down at Hello Kitty Cafe in Seoul, Hello Kitty Island Museum & Cafe in Jeju or Hello Kitty Dreams restaurant in Beijing where your order comes festooned with pink and overloaded with Sanrio merch, including Hello Kitty toothpicks. No kitty litter here, at Hello Kitty Cafe, even the female toilet is pink and pretty (the men’s is blue. With a masculine cat. Of course.)
3. Ride on Hello Kitty
Miss Kitty White (her full moniker) has scratched out her claim on not one but four theme parks: Sanrio’s Harmonyland in Oita, Japan; Universal Studios Japan in Osaka; Hello Kitty Castle in Shanghai and Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo – where you can even tie the knot – Kitty-style. Our pick is Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream ride at Universal Studios. Because, cupcakes.
4. Shop the Hello Kitty store
Right in the Tokyo shopping mecca of Ginza, the Sanrio World flagship store takes over the second floor of Nishi Ginza Department Store. While it’s Sanrio-branded, a certain cat takes centre stage here with all the cute shoppables you could possibly imagine, from Hello Kitty couches to a massive replica statue – sorry, not for sale.
5. Give birth in the Hello Kitty maternity ward
Hmm. So maybe not one to do on the spur of the moment, however, should you find yourself with a baby onboard and in Taiwan at around, oh, nine months’ gestation, you can deliver your own bundle of joy at the Hello Kitty-themed maternity hospital, Hau Sheng Hospital. The cots, beds and even the staff uniforms have been Kitty-fied for your purrfect delivery.
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