From BabyMetal to Hello Kitty: 11 Wacky Japanese Trends to Love

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Image via Kalistrya

1. Hello Kitty

The ubiquitous Hello Kitty from Sanrio is the most well known of beloved Japanese characters. She entered the world’s stage in 1974, but it wasn’t until 2014 that everyone was shocked by some weird news. For those of you not in the know, it was the end of summer when Sanrio told a Los Angeles curator of a Hello Kitty exhibit that Hello Kitty is not a cat. I repeat NOT A CAT.

The curator who is a Hello Kitty expert, Christine Yano was informed by the company that “Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.” Needless to say, mass confusion, weeping, and wailing ensued across the internet as the facts settled in.

Now that everyone is on the same not-cat page, we can continue with the cult-like devotion of fans to Hello Kitty. The empire includes a Hello Kitty Cafe popup which has sprouted up in Irvine, California. This location will remain open for a year and there is no word yet on whether or not it will become a permanent thing.

Never fear, there’s also a cafe food truck that’s been rolling to select cities since 2014. The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck made a DC area appearance in mid-September. Anibundel and my husband braved the crowds while I was out of town taking Soda Bunny to Disney World. The line wrapped around the block and families with small crying children fled the line half an hour into the wait.

Image via Kalistrya

Our brave heroes persevered and it became a matter of pride as the hours ticked by. 4.5 hours later, they triumphantly got to select anything from the menu except for the water and donuts which had run out. Here’s the menu’s full item list for the curious: Hello Kitty Bow Water, Hello Kitty 3pc Cookie Set, Hello Kitty 3pc Donut Box, Hello Kitty Cafe Coffee Mug, Hello Kitty Petit 4 Cakes, Hello Kitty 5pc Macaron Box, and Hello Kitty Cafe T-Shirt.

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How did the pricey treats measure up in terms of taste? I’ll admit that they were pretty good. The macarons weren’t especially innovative, but they were good. The petit fours were almond based as well with different filling layers for some of the cakes. While the food isn’t terrible, it’s not worth the wait on its own without the novelty of the famed Hello Kitty.