Friday, April 15, 2011
Hello Kitty Cafe
I had heard about this place for quite a while and my coupon-loving rabbit decided to take me there tonight.
There are apparently 3 Hello Kitty cafes in Seoul, and I'm guessing quite a few more in Tokyo as that is the birth place of the San Rio character.
I remember Hello Kitty being around for a while (my sister had a pencil case or something with Hello Kitty on it back in Kindergarten days) and I knew from my recent trips to Japan that that character was still all mad-popular - not just with kids of course, but specifically with 20-something ladies who enjoy appropriating the cute and simple character as an entry drug for more fetishistic stuff that populates the streets of Harajuku on Sunday afternoons.
Anyway, the blossoms are out on the streets of Sinchon, so we went there as opposed to the more popular cafe in Hongdae - armed with a coupon and a travel edition of Rummikub.
What can I say about the place? The pictures speak for themselves. It does seem like a place Hello Kitty and her pals might populate and it runs mostly on cute. There is a small amount of merchandise available, but the real draw is the decor and themed treats and refreshments. We ordered a caramel bread (thick, sweet toast sprinkled with powdered sugar, whip-cream, and chocolate sauce - the kind of thing that Hello Kitty, herself, might subsist on.
While we were there, a local TV station interviewed me with an odd question: showing me photos of four Korean male celebrities (Kang Ho-dong, 1 Night, 2 Days; Chu Seong-hun, Japanese-Korean MMA Fighter; Choi Hong-man, K-1 fighter and overall gronk of a human being; and some guy I don't know), the interviewer asked me which of the four had a secret passion for collecting Hello Kitty paraphernalia. I had no idea, but I said Choi Hong-man, as he is the least obvious of the group - being 7'2" and 350 lbs.
Turns out I was right. That's it - that's all there is to the story. It might air sometime on some station. Many others were interviewed through our time at the cafe as well, but I'll bet not everyone guessed the Korean Colossus! The place was fun, but like the rabbit said: "one time is enough". Indeed.
But, if you're a Hello Kitty fan, or even if you just have a vague remembrance of the character from your sister's pencil case, it's worth a visit.
Shannon would have gone crazy here.