She’s five apples tall, three apples heavy, loves baking cookies and eating mama’s homemade apple pies. In short, she is the definition of ‘kawaii’ (‘cute’ in Japanese). If you’ve never heard of the snow white, bob-tailed cat with the trademark red bow tie, then you’ve been living in a cave for the past 40-odd years. Her full name is Kitty White, but to people around the world, she’s known as Hello Kitty, the Japanese sensation who rakes in a staggering US$5 billion a year.
As in other regions, the feline phenom has long enjoyed a strong paw-hold in Malaysia. But local fans had their Kitty enjoyment upgraded recently with the opening of the first Sanrio Hello Kitty Town outside of Japan, in Johor Bahru. Part of the sprawling entertainment centre known as the Puteri Harbour Indoor Family Theme Park, the Town offers an exhaustive array of sights, activities and merchandise that will drive all Kitty-lovers ‘krazy’.
Total immersion in the Japanese feline’s world begins with the Kitty House, an iconic Hello Kitty household complete with living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. It’s almost too cute to be true, with every shade of pink imaginable on display, and cartoon-styled architecture and furniture throughout. Nearby, visitors can also enjoy a high-tech, interactive ride on the Black Wonder, or gaze at other Sanrio stars – such as My Melody and Little Twin Stars – as they perform in all their kawaii glory on the Purrfect Stage.
In the Wishful Studio, kids and the kids-at-heart have a host of hands-on, productive diversions to choose from. The jewelry-making, cookie-baking and nail-painting activities on offer make for excellent bonding time between parents and children. Party-loving kids who wish they could throw a bash (for whatever reason) can have their wish granted with a Hello Kitty costume party.
Birthday boys and girls can celebrate in the Apple or Strawberry party rooms, which are also available for any other special occasion. Make sure to also drop by The Little Big Club, which features a series of rides and activities starring world-beloved cartoon characters such as Bob The Builder and Barney; and Lat’s Place, a restaurant dedicated to the one-and-only Kampung Boy.
Hello Kitty and all her friends enjoy wandering around the Town, so there are plenty of chances to bump into them and snap kawaii shots.