So… Hello Kitty Con! We woke up early, grabbed some coffees, and got on the Hello Kitty bus to Hello Kitty Con. Yes indeed, there was a HELLO KITTY BUS from the hotel to the convention. And it was awesome.
In case I didn’t explain this before, this was the first-ever Hello Kitty Con. 2014 marked the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty and so this was basically her birthday party, anniversary party, and ALL HELLO KITTY EVERYTHING party wrapped into one.
From this CNN article:
“We are celebrating Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, and it’s just a global gathering of Hello Kitty fans from around the world to celebrate their love for Hello Kitty,” said Dave Marchi, senior director of marketing for the Japanese firm Sanrio, owner of the character and its global merchandising.
“Hello Kitty means so much to so many people in many different ways,” he added. “But I think it’s easily explained she’s just an ambassador of happiness, and she connects with people emotionally so she’s all about happiness and friendship and fun.”
That’s right — Hello Kitty is about happiness and fun.
WARNING: This entry has tons of photos. Pretty much all of Hello Kitty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
But really, if you don’t like Hello Kitty, why are you even here? And by here I mean on this planet, because everyone should like Hello Kitty. HAPPINESS AND FUN.
The Hello Kitty bus!
Picking up our tickets inside the Japanese American National Museum. One of my favourite museums! (I will take this moment to point out that I am a member of the Japanese American National Museum even though I’m not American and almost never go to LA. But they do amazing things and put on excellent exhibits so I’m happy to support them.)
Waiting to get inside with a zillion other Hello Kitty fans. One of the things that I thought was interesting is that most of the crowd was around my age, and a lot were older than me (40+). A lot of people have grown up with Hello Kitty!
Mike is a good sport.
This kid had a super cute Hello Kitty kimono. She was also half Japanese!
If you give Mike a free hat, he’ll probably wear it.
We stopped at the MakerBot booth — they were making and giving out 3D-printed Hello Kittys.
Mike got a green one and I got a red one. So cool!
The Hello Kitty charging station. Because of course.
Yuko Yamaguchi, the designer of Hello Kitty!
Awesome old-timey Japanese Sanrio ads.
Hello Kitty dress exhibit.
Who wouldn’t want a Hello Kitty wedding dress?
Mike is there for scale.
Even the garbage cans were Hello Kitty-fied. Japanese level of detail.
I love old Hello Kitty stuff.
There was even a store to buy vintage Hello Kitty goods, but you had to be a serious collector because everything was $$$.
Trapped in the Hello Kitty coin purse.
Hello Kitty screen printing.
Checking out the tattoo area. They were giving out free Hello Kitty tattoos!
Everything Hello Kitty. Even the foliage!
As part of Hello Kitty Con, you also received free admission to the Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty. The exhibit is on until the end of April, so go see it before then!
Hee hee hee hee hee Fuji-san Hello Kitty.
The exhibit was almost totally empty when we went, so it was perfect.
Hello Kitty EVA Air goods! (I’ve since flown on a Hello Kitty EVA plane… more on that soon!)
The cutest pilot in the world.
The bows on the floor tell you where to go.
I’ve been sort of half-heartedly collecting Gotochi Kitty from various places in Japan, but after seeing ALL OF THEM in one place, I’m giving up! The exhibit included a map of Japan with all the different Gotochi Kittys. (Gototchi Kitty are regional Hello Kitty charms that you can get everywhere in Japan. For example, the Nara one I have has a Hello Kitty as a deer, the Fukuoka one has Hello Kitty mentaiko, the Okinawa one has Hello Kitty with a goya, etc.)
I took a photo of this because it’s the same as the first Hello Kitty toy I ever had.
Mike is fifteen apples tall.
Part of the exhibit includes Hello Kitty art from a variety of artists.
Love this one.
Who knew Hello Kitty was such a muse?
Hello Kitty fashion.
The Lady Gaga Hello Kitty dress.
The one on the right is something I’d wear… in my dreams.
Who doesn’t love Hello Kitty?!
At the end of the exhibit, you go through the museum to leave. I’m hoping that people who have never been to the Japanese American National Museum take time to look through the rest of the museum, but it might be kind of surprising to be immediately surrounded with the gravity of the Japanese American internment after so much cuteness.
Next was the Hello Kitty Spam musubi-making workshop. Spam musubi is sort of like sushi with Spam, and it’s very popular in Hawaii. It’s not usually shaped like Hello Kitty… but it should be.
The finished product! I’m only showing you photos of Mike’s musubi because mine was deformed.
Mike’s looked pretty perfect. For the purposes of this demonstration and time constraints, we used regular Spam, instead of the teriyaki-coated Spam you’re supposed use for Spam musubi. So we didn’t eat these, because Spam is disgusting. (In a related note, the girl sitting beside me had never heard of Spam. How is that possible? She was American.)
This is probably my favourite photo from the day.
I don’t know what this is called, but there was this booth where you had to grab a green ticket while pieces of paper blew around. (Of course Mike was successful because he always wins at games like this.) The prize was some Hello Kitty cupcake stand thing that we definitely did not want to have to try to fit in our carry-ons, so he gave his prize to a group of girls who had all failed to get their own green ticket. They were very happy. HELLO KITTY CON IS ABOUT SHARING.
Outside was Hello Kitty-themed food at the Hello Kitty Cafe truck.
CUTE HELLO KITTY CAKES!
Too cute for words.
Hello Kitty Con bow-shaped water bottle.
Last workshop: Hello Kitty jewellery-making with Onch Movement.
Whew. So that was most of the con. In the next entry, we attend the invite-only HELLO KITTY BIRTHDAY PARTY. We also stalk Misako Aoki and drink Hello Kitty champagne.