It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! No, It’s Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty Plane
Jackal Lin, Flickr

You’ll either be purring in content or scratching your head at this one, but get ready because Hello Kitty themed aircraft are set to debut in the United States.

EVA Air has announced it will begin flying a Boeing 777 featuring the popular cartoon character on its Taoyuan-Los Angeles route, immersing travelers in all things Hello Kitty during the 13-hour journey.

The Taiwan-based airline has been flying jets outfitted with Hello Kitty themed décor in Asian countries for a number of years, but it’s the first time such aircraft will be flown in the U.S.

The airline is still putting the finishing touches on the interior of the plane, but they have released a few details about what passengers can expect. Aircraft bathrooms will feature Hello Kitty branded soaps and lotions and cabin crew will wear pink Hello Kitty aprons featuring a large 3D bow and an image of the famous feline.

If the planes are anything like the ones operating in Japan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere, we can also expect to see Hello Kitty adorning the headrests, pillows, boarding passes, and luggage tags. But the most incredible part has to be the Hello Kitty themed meals, which feature intricately carved desserts and morsels of food shaped like the cartoon character herself.

The first Hello Kitty flight will debut in the US on September 18.

Hello Kitty Food
leesean, Flickr

Only In Dubai: World’s First Hello Kitty Spa Opens

hello kitty spaA hot pink spa with a Parisian theme in the middle of Dubai designed by someone in Japan – it sounds like a spot with an identity crisis, but for lovers of the cult favorite Hello Kitty brand, it’s practically purr-fection.

Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.

Newly opened in Dubai’s Jumeriah Town Centre, the Hello Kitty Beauty Spa caters to both young girls and women alike with a variety of treatments ranging from hand massages to “kitty-cures.” Ratings of “queen” and “princess” denote if the treatment is meant for kids or adults.

More of a beauty salon and less of a true day spa, the treatments focus on the aesthetic – haircuts, blowouts, up-dos and mani pedis – than the true “spa” treatments like facials or body massages. But, if you want, you can get the famed Hello Kitty “Kitty White” character painted on your nails, or snack on an organic cupcake post-treatment at the cafe.

Thanks to the Daily Mail
for initially tipping us off. We’ll pop in for a kitty-cure next time we’re in Dubai.

What do you think about this new spa? A great treat for devotees of the famous cartoon brand, or a creepy place for anyone but kids and teens? Frankly, we’re just shocked Japan didn’t get one first.

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Gallery: Hotel Tomo, San Francisco’s anime hotel

Inexpensive hotels are hard to come by in San Francisco. Especially properties that are also convenient to the city’s major attractions and have easy access to public transportation. Add to the checklist the desire to stay somewhere that is not a complete dive and the options become slim to none.

At least that’s what I thought before stumbling upon Hotel Tomo, a Joie de Vivre property with a Japanese pop culture theme. The hotel website promised unique murals in each room, a quirky lobby with arcade-style games, and an on-site restaurant that has been serving Japanese cuisine for over 30 years. There was even an option to stay in the “Player’s Suite,” a party room with a circular bed and an 8-foot LCD screen for playing video games and belting out karaoke. It seemed too quirky to pass up.

I definitely didn’t know what to expect. Would I be bombarded with manga and have to endure mingling with pigtailed girls decked out in Hello Kitty accessories in the lobby? After making my reservations, I feared the hotel might end up being too over the top. But once I checked in and took a peek around, my anime anxiety subsided. In reality, Joie de Vivre took an outdated hotel and added subtle touches to give it some character. The communal spaces were painted in fun colors, while the comfortable rooms were furnished with clean lines and tastefully decorated. Despite the pictures on the hotel website, there were no graphic novels or action figures on the bedside table (I suppose you have to bring those yourself). I did, however, see some guests decked out as video game characters on their way to a convention while passing through the lobby.

Would I stay at Hotel Tomo again? For sure. Will I recommend it to others? Only those who will enjoy on-site parking, free Internet, a Keurig coffeemaker, friendly staff, and a fun atmosphere. Click through the gallery below to see more images of the hotel.

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Tokyo’s cat cafes newest trend

Tokyo cat cafesHasta la vista, Hello Kitty. Get lost, LOL cats. Tokyo’s hot new phenom are neko cafes (“neko” is Japanese for cat). At first appearance typical, cozy coffee houses, closer examination reveals live cats lounging on the furniture, in baskets, or on laps. Which, I guess, isn’t nearly as bizarre (or kinky) as Tokyo’s maid cafes. Actually, to a cat lover like me, it’s quite appealing.

CNN reports that about 100 neko cafés can now be found in Japan, with more popping up in South Korea and Taiwan. More than 50 of the cafes are in Tokyo proper, with almost 70 in the outlying suburbs. Neko no Mise, for example, is a popular neko cafe in the Machida suburb that just celebrated its fifth anniversary.

Right about now, you’re probably asking yourself, what kind of person chooses to hang out in a neko cafe? Banish the image of the stereotypical Crazy Cat Lady from your mind, because these places are a huge hit with young professionals–particularly couples (childless, perhaps?). Far from being frumpy, many neko cafe clientele are hipsters who like to take their dates out for an evening of coffee and cat-watching. Single patrons are welcome too, however, as evidenced by the proliferation of cat bloggers.

Apparently, the neko cafe craze is accountable for many a blog starring specific coffee house felines: some have their own mixi profiles, which, I’m sorry, is definitely halfway to crazytown. And I say this as one who has been frequently dubbed a CCL (yes, that is my cat wearing a sweater in the photo, and I was trying to cut my heating bill). But not everyone is on board with the concept of caffeine and kitties. A young woman named Yuko told CNN, “My sister wanted to go so badly, she took me to one. It was weird, I thought. People just hanging out there with the cats, but you’re not allowed to wake them up or pick them up, they were just watching the cats and smiling and stuff … it was a little scary.”

Hello Kitty theme park opens in Tokyo


If you’re a lover of all things Hello Kitty, there’s good news today. Hello Kitty Kawaii Paradise has opened in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.

The 10,000-square foot attraction is being called an indoor theme park, but it’s a pretty small space to accommodate any kind of ride or show. Kawaii Paradise does have a theater with Hello Kitty cartoons projected onto a domed ceiling, a restaurant that serves Hello Kitty pancakes, and that bastion of all theme park values, the gift shop.

There are two other theme parks — Sanrio Puroland and Harmonyland — dedicated to Hello Kitty and other characters in the Sanrio universe. But this is the first park where Hello Kitty does not share the marquee with her friends.

Kawaii (which means “cute” in Japanese) Paradise is in the growing Venus Fort shopping complex. The park’s operator, PleasureCast, says it expects to top 700,000 visitors in the first year of operation.

[Image credit: Flickr user Stephen Hucker]