Thursday, May 23, 2019

Enthusiast vs. Collector

WARNING: This is not to offend, but to show the differences in a fandom. If you're easily offended, then you're not going to like this one. I have a lot of humor, but I'm not going to pull back my punches at what I see as truth. Laughing at yourself is the best medicine in life. Without humor, it's a really sad life. If you take this too seriously, then let it be known-- you're NOT my target audience. I write to get to the matter of the issue. There will be times that I will try for satire. Lastly, I'm opinionated. Take it or leave it. Thank you for visiting!

Enthusiast: I've been collecting Hello Kitty for over 35 years. Hello Kitty power! 
Collector: I've only started collecting 5 years ago. Here's a picture of my collection.

Enthusiast: Heads up! There's HELLO KITTY at Torrid!!
Collector: Yup, it's been there since last year.

Enthusiast: where did you get that?
Collector: about a few months ago, there was a Sanrio collection. They're all sold out.

Enthusiast: OMG! I bought this for cheap at a yard sale!
Collector: Lucky!! I had to pay full retail price for mine.

Enthusiast: I'm traveling soon. Where are the good spots in Japan for Hello Kitty?
Collector: < lists famous places and stores > (well detailed in research via web)

Enthusiast: I can't find Kitty in where I live! I refuse to pay for international shipping and seller fees!!!
Collector: I have a wide variety of collectibles in my collection because I was willing to go far for my obsession.

Enthusiast: I only like this one out of all the series.
Collector: I have to buy all to complete my sets! I have to have them!!

Enthusiast: can anyone help me buy this physically at the store? I'll pay for the item and shipping to my house.
Collector: I get my items through a personal international shopper

Enthusiast: I'm a minimalist. I don't understand why you need a collection to put in a case to just sit there. I only buy what I use.
Collector: I'm a Collector. I love my lifestyle and there are other Collectors who gets me.

Enthusiast: I don't have much Sanrio, but I have some Hello Kitty purses.
Collector: my main collection are plushes. Hundreds of them.

Enthusiast: I'm selling this figurine. Sorry, it doesn't come with the original box.
Collector: I keep everything and I do mean literally, EVERYTHING -- including the original packaging and tags!!

Enthusiast: my collection so far consists of only gifts from friends and family.
Collector: I buy stuff with my own money.

Enthusiast: a lot of my stuff are from generous penpals
Collector: I overpaid for my collection from e-bay

Enthusiast: I'm moving. It's going to be smooth and fast.
Collector: I have to prepare and get millions of boxes when I move!! It's going to take me weeks to pack. HELP!!

Enthusiast: All I want is a picture with Hello Kitty!
Collector: [With a straight face] I plan in detail of a FULL photo-op session with Kitty and friends, including live streaming.

Enthusiast: Take cover and run! There's an earthquake coming!
Collector: NOOO!!! My Sanrio Collection! I need to save it. I'm going in!!!

Enthusiast: I love only Hello Kitty.
Collector: I love SANRIO.

Enthusiast: Hello...
Collector: ... Kitty.

Enthusiast: I have some POCCHOCO stuff from my childhood days
Collector: I have tons of P-O-C-H-A-C-C-O stuff, too! We're twinsies!!

Enthusiast: [Singing] There's Mickey and Hello Kitty sitting in a tree and K-I-S --- 
Collector: NO! You just did not go there!! Dear Daniel is her boyfriend & future hubby!!!

Enthusiast: space is limited, so I only collect the small stuff like cheap stationery.
Collector: limited space is not a concern for me! Wanna visit my storage? I rotate my stuff out yearly.

Enthusiast: You do know these are cartoon characters?
Collector: I won't believe your lies! They're real. Here's my photo with Hello Kitty. See!

Friday, May 10, 2019

That Pink Hello Kitty Chair

Yes, you heard me right! There's a P-I-N-K office chair by Lean Back out being sold in the Korean market. Not everyone likes a pink chair, but I'm not exactly normal or predictable.

I love pink, but I get rather picky with the details. If it goes hot pink, I'm like definitely not. A hint of hot pink with light pink as the main color -- you got my interest, so let's see the rest. You get my drift. 

Now, back to the topic of the PINK Hello Kitty chair. I was going to purchase one today, but my plans got ruined. On the Korean page to buy the chair, it reads that it won't ship to the United States and to please select another country. 

My jaw dropped! I was crushed!

No... seriously. Not cool to do that to me. I had waited a week and a half to purchase this pinkalicious Hello Kitty chair to find that it is not possible. It says to USA: Unpredictable. In red font colors. RED.

I'm like why can't they ship this office chair when I was able to get Fed-Ex to ship my oversized Hello Kitty sofa?? And, that cost me an arm and leg.

After thinking about this for awhile and spending my chair money on another Hello Kitty substitute purchase, I think this is a sign.

Yes. It is a sign. (please go with me here... this is me rationalizing here)

Maybe someone up there is telling me that I don't need this particular PINK Hello Kitty chair. It's cute, but I can wait for a better Hello Kitty office chair that can be a character shaped chair. Yes, that's right. I should wait for another PINK chair to come along to tempt me. 


<Clicking the link again to see the words, UNPREDICTABLE in bright red colors>

You don't suppose it will change to yes in another few weeks for United States? No?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

R.I.P. - Top 10 Best Designed Sanrio Stores

Here's a look back on the best exterior designed Sanrio stores that was in the States. We all miss seeing a variety of Sanrio stores in every state in America, so this spotlight feature will highlight stores that will be truly missed in design wise. 

1.   Westfield Valley Fair Mall
             Santa Clara, CA

Cr: Web

I love the large size Hello Kitty image with the Sanrio font logo in this particular building design. The simple play of a white background and the blue color to accessorize it looks very pleasing to my eyes

2.   The Fashion Show Mall
             Nevada, Las Vegas

Cr: Web

I love the first thing that grabs your attention are the Sanrio characters. This is what is special about Sanrio. 

3.   Plaza West Covina Mall
             West Covina, CA

Cr: Web

There's nothing like an extraordinary doorway that leads to another fantasy world. This place is where we all want to go in life. 

4.   Southland Mall
            Hayward, CA

Cr: Yelp

Here is another Hello Kitty image with the original Sanrio font logo. With a clean white background, it's simple enough that it's beyond cute. 

5.   Crabtree Valley Mall
            Raleigh, CA

Cr: Yelp

Cr: Yelp

I have fallen in love here. This letter stamp style is truly one of my favorite store design for Sanrio. 

6.   Hillsdale Shopping Center
            San Mateo, CA

Cr: Yelp

Another classic Hello Kitty design that I want to incorporate into my kittified Shrine room.

7.   Sherwood Mall
            Stockton, CA

Cr: Web

I love this one. So simple. It's just Hello Kitty. Enough reason to go inside and explore.

8.   Galleria at Tyler
            Riverside, CA

Cr: Web

There's just something special about that Sanrio font logo with that heart at the end. Loves it.

9.   Nakajima USA

Cr: Web

Anything with a Hello Kitty image is cute!


Cr: Web

Sanrio should already be a household name to Americans, but it's not. Only the name and image of Hello Kitty is recognized in USA.

Honorable Mentions

  Momoberry by Sanrio 
        Beverly Hills, CA

YOU WILL BE MISSED. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Sanrio World Tour Bucket List

Do you want to make memories and have a fun adventure?

You're not alone. I want to make such good commemorative memories that I can capture them on film and look back on it for a lifetime. First, my question was if I'm planning my vacations-- where would I go first? Let me help you with that problem.

Here is a bucket list to the very best Sanrio places to visit in the world. Here are the rankings of most desired destinations to plan your vacation around. 

The places that I chose are geared toward adult fans. Places for just children are excluded (e.g. China's Hello Kitty Park (no real giant kittified sculpture), Malaysia's Hello Kitty Town, Dubai's Hello Kitty Spa, and Korea's Hello Kitty Island). Excluded are exhibitions, events, themed room hotels, themed karaokes, themed dentist/hospitals/markets/etc, and expos. Basically, I have chosen spots that are useful and fun for a Sanrio Collector.

1.   Sanrio Puroland
            Tokyo, Japan

Where is the best Sanrio vacation spot in the whole world? It's in the country where Sanrio was originally founded in Japan. It is Sanrio Puroland, a small indoor theme park attraction. It is the #1 spot on our list because of how spectacular it has been presented over the years. All fans around the world come to visit and witness all the cuteness overload that you can imagine in your lifetime.

In this magical place, you can meet the majority of their Sanrio character mascots dressed up all in costumes. This is the perfect place for many great photo-ops and exciting staged photo areas of Sanriofied scenery to explore. One of the must-see areas is the "Lady Kitty House." There are many rooms in this Hello Kitty themed house that are set up for taking photos and such.

Much like Disneyland's It's A Small World ride, Puroland boasts of a similar boat ride through the wonderful world of Sanrio.  A fantasy world of cuteness that invites you into this imaginative colorful world. A ride that every Sanrio fan needs to take in his or her journey of collecting.

And, it wouldn't be an indoor theme park without the live stage musical performances and a mini parade. It's such an over the top presentation that it will leave you fascinated with every little detail. You will not want to miss out on these performances as it is a diehard fan's ritual to partake.

Lastly, it wouldn't be the perfect theme park attraction without the Sanriofied character themed foods and the many souvenir shopping sprees. The largest gift shop in Puroland is called the Entrance Shop in the Rainbow Hall. Everything you can imagine that is adorably cute must be in this store full of merchandise. 

1-31 Ochiai, Tama-shi, Tokyo

Located near the Tama Centre Station; Estimated 5 mins walking
OPENING HOURS: 10am-5pm (or 8pm depending on days*)
Phone: 042-339-1111

Source: Sanrio Puroland

2.   Harmonyland

Cr: Web

While Puroland was an indoor entertainment theme park, this next one is an outdoor park with a large ferris wheel and rides like the decorated spinning teacups. It is a small park that most people would go only once to cross of his or her bucket list. There isn't much to do at this park after you rode the carousel, small roller coaster, and a few more attractions that total to twelve. What most fans come here is for the photo-op opportunities presented. You have a big ferris wheel with a Hello Kitty image at the center of the ride. You can take photos with Hello Kitty in a meet-and-greet area, Kitty Castle. Hello Kitty is usually in a different outfit based on the weather. 

Source: Harmonyland
879-1598 Oita Prefecture, Hayami District, Hiji, Fujiwara 5933

3.   Hello Kitty Smile
            Awaji island, Japan

Hello Kitty Smile on Awaji Island
TYPE: Oriental Gourmet Restaurant
Cuisine: Japanese and Chinese
Specialties: Souvenirs shop, Gallery; Theater, Giant 36 foot tall HK shaped head sculpture
Debut: June 2018

Address: 985-1, Nojima Hikinoura, Awaji, Hyogo
More Info here and here.

"It comes complete with a gourmet restaurant, high tea annex, outdoor terrace, theater, shop, and more. The main dining area serves creative dishes influenced by both Japanese and Chinese cuisines prepared by award-winning chefs – restaurant goers can expect high-quality ingredients such as locally sourced shark fin and abalone. In an annex area, high tea is served daily, where more than 50 types of tea can be enjoyed with Hello Kitty-inspired pastries and treats. There is even an immersive theater where projection-mapping, spherical color-changing LED lights, and other design details are used to bring Hello Kitty's world to life. Before heading out, guests can visit the Hello Kitty shop to pick up gifts and souvenirs. If this isn't enticing enough, the exterior of the new space boasts a 36-foot tall Hello Kitty sculpture that looks right out onto the water."
Source: Popsugar

4.   Sanrioworld Ginza
            Ginza, Japan

Next on our list is the famous Sanrioworld in Ginza, the largest Sanrio store in the world. It has 2 floors full of Sanrio merchandise, which gives all Collectors a reason to do some major shopping spree. You will leave verrrrrry happy, while your enabler looks at his or her empty wallet. 

After getting yourself some retail therapy in the store, you can get your nails done because the store has a nail salon. Lovely perk, isn't it? Also, while you're spending everything-- why not go for the fabulous bling? There is a Swarovski shop at your heart's desire. This is the place to go and get yourself a Sanriofied home and lifestyle!

1st & 2nd Floor, Nishi Ginza Department Store, 4-1 Saki, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Located near the JR Yurakucho Station / Tokyo Metro Ginza Station; Estimated 3 mins walking

Opening Hours:
11am-8:30pm (M/T/Sat)
11am-9pm (W/Th/F)
11am-8pm Sun/National Holidays
Phone: 03-3566-4060

5.   Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa
            Asakusa, Japan

Imagine coming here and getting a photo of yourself right outside the building? It would make my day-- heck, it would make my life feel complete because I have achieved my goal to see this cute Hello Kitty landmark. 

Inside has 2 floors to explore and go crazy with more hoarding. Enjoy!

1-17-5 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Located near the Tokyo Metro Asakusa Station; Estimated 3 mins walk
Business Hours: 9am-7pm
Phone: 080-9432-7505

6.   Sanrio Arcadia
            Westfield Santa Anita Mall in CA, USA

Are you looking for the recent and popular merchandise? This location always guarantees to bring you the latest Sanrio merch. It is my favorite destination to shop and get my temporary Sanrio fix. The only thing that would make life complete is if they started selling those Hello Kitty shaped or Sanrio character shaped marshmallow or candy treats that you see in Japan stores.

7.   Hello Kitty Grand Cafe
            Irvine Spectrum Center in CA, USA

Cr: Sanrio

You have reached the pinnacle top of your Sanrio journey if you have done both the tea and bar service at the Grand Cafe. You have gone and experienced what most fans have wished to do since the Grand Cafe debuted. It completes one of my checklists for finding kittified food -- well, sugary treats if we're going to be accurate here.

8.   Universal Studios Hollywood
            Los Angeles in CA, USA

Cr: Web

To promote their brand, Sanrio made a smart move in getting their most popular character into a studio network giant like Universal. We all know the longer that Sanrio is out of the public eye (i.e. closed retail stores), Americans will forget about the feline kitty and it's parent brand. 

What I like about this store in the parks is that it has it's own Hello Kitty bow door when coming from a different section of the building that sells non-Sanrio souvenirs. It's an actual door way to exit or enter than the bow door in Florida's version.

Another plus, I love the decor of where it's set up to look like a mini Sanrio theater walk-up entrance to buy tickets. The Hollywood glamour style is all there and I'm loving it. 

9.   Sanrio Japanese Village
            Los Angeles in CA, USA

When you walk in, you will see that big wall mural at the back of the room and you know you are in another world. This is why I put this boutique at #9 because of how unique the store has become to fans. It's the first flagship store in Los Angeles and is at the center of Little Tokyo downtown. The boutique is special to the way Sanrio spent a lot of time to transform it from a cute store to a hot trend boutique. The first makeover store took place here. This place is definitely somewhere you want to be visiting.

10.   Hello Kitty Hollywood
                Hollywood in CA, USA

Cr: Web

We all know why Sanrio chose Hollywood to open up another flagship store in California. Hollywood is one of the top tourist spots in the world to plan your vacation around. I've chosen this next on our list because it's the first ever boutique that showcases a more modern take of having more Sanrio clothing options. One of the big reasons that this boutique is a hot spot is because of the exclusive fashion line that they had going for the American apparel a few months ago. Another reason that I love going here is because that this store is not all about toys and plushes -- it's about the modern times of what's cool about Hello Kitty. Yes, targeting more for the older crowd. There are still plushes and toys here and there, but that is not the central part of the store. The clothes are the focus and that's what I love about this store. We're stepping up from the old ways into the new way of thinking on kawaii shopping. It's not all about the children. This store was made for us.

11.   Hello Kitty House
                Bangkok, Thailand

Cr: Hello Kitty House, Thailand

Cr: Hello Kitty House, Thailand

The Grand Cafe in Irvine will always have a special place in my heart because of the tea and bar service, but this next Cafe had to be a showstopper to be on this list. It's the only two Cafes outside of America that I would like to one day visit. The Cafe is known most for the extravagant and stunning glass rooftop that showcases a beautiful Hello Kitty artwork. And, there are a few things that I would like to try off their menu. It looks like they tried to put some kittified creations on there.

Panthum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

12.   HK Red Carpet 
                New Taipei, Taiwan

Similar to Universal Studios Hollywood's style, this Cafe uses old Hollywood glamour. It re-imagines Hello Kitty into a retro American feel of classic Hollywood. 

The gimmick is well formed and alive in this Cafe. This Cafe is definitely not known for it's food or even attempt to create any art food, but only of it's beautiful decor. More than likely, I will want to go here only once.

3F, No. 356, Sec. 1, Wenhua 3rd Rd., Linkou Dist | Outlet Linkou, New Taipei, Taiwan
Business Hours: 11am-9:30pm Sun-Sat
Source: HK Red Carpet

13.   Universal Studios
                Florida, USA

Cr: Web

Cr: Web

This colorful array of Hello Kitty store is another recommended visit to Universal Studios Florida. While this store's interior decor feels like the target audience is mainly for kids-- there are some uses that an adult Collector would want: exclusive stuff!

A lot of exclusive items come up from the Movie Mash-Up collection, which we can see Hello Kitty in iconic scenes from a few of Universal Studio's films like E.T. and Back to the Future.

One important note that this store debuted in 2016, making it the first Sanrio official retail store inside a theme park in North America.

14.   Tama-Center Station 
                 Tokyo, Japan

There are no words to describe this stunning ceiling artwork. It's something that every Sanrio fan has to take time and come see in person when going to Puroland. It is located at the Tama Center station.

15.   EVA Air Terminal
                 Taipei Taoyuan Airport, Taiwan

Cr: Web

Cr: Web

What you least expect when you come into an International Airport: Hello Kitty! Too bad, Sanrio has yet to invade LAX with some cuteness. 

16.   HK Wall Mural 
                 Los Angeles in CA, USA

The perfect time to stop at Downtown, Los Angeles is on the weekend mornings. You can do a mini photo session with this Hello Kitty mural to show everyone that you were there. Live and representing the kitty fandom. The mural is located on Hill Street, just before 24th Street on your left side if you're coming from Downtown.

This completes my World Tour bucket list for now. I'm looking to add more special memories in my future scrapbook and documenting everything! Have a wonderful time when you do get to visit these places. I know I will.