As you may or may not know, it was Hello Kitty‚Äôs official birthday the 1st of November. She shares her birthday with Yuko Shimizo, the Japanese artist who originally created Hello Kitty in 1974. Hello Kitty first appeared on a purse in 1975, making this the iconic kawaii cartoon‚Äôs 40th birthday. Happy belated birthday, Hello Kitty!
I didn‚Äôt know any of this until today, writing this article, because I‚Äôm not an especial fan of Hello Kitty (nothing against her, I‚Äôm just more of a dog person so Scooby Doo was more my cartoon of choice as I was growing up). However, I am and always have been very much a fan of places which, when committing to a theme, really commit to a theme. And so I had been pretty darn excited to see the Hello Kitty Caf√© in my new home-city ver since I had heard of its existence a couple months ago! I finally had a chance to go, and I was not disappointed.
The Hello Kitty Secret Garden Caf√© is one of many themed caf√©s in Hong Kong, including a Snoopy Caf√© and a Pok√©mon Caf√©. It‚Äôs nestled in a little group of small criss-crossing alleyways in an area of (posh) Hong Kong Island called Tin Hau. I‚Äôd never been there before today, but it was adorable ‚Äì lots of cute little cafes, near a temple or two, and with a bit less hustle-and-bustle foot-traffic than my neighbourhood (in a good way).
The caf√© itself was also adorable, but not in the way I expected. I had been envisioning bright colours, plastic and pink. Instead I saw wooden panelling, an almost bistro-vibe with the open wall and chairs outside, and fancy flavoured lattes with saucers and silverware.
It struck me that Hello Kitty remains an iconic, epitome of traditionally ‚Äúgirly‚Äù exaggerated cuteness, but has also grown up with her fans: what a cool cat.
Girl Museum Inc.
PS: If you‚Äôre a Hello Kitty fan, you can find her blog here.