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I am a freelance writer for newspapers,magazines as well as a journalist for TV.
I am from Tokyo, Japan and have been living in Los Angeles since 1990.
[日本語のブログFromLAby藤本庸子] fromla.cocolog-nifty.com/blog
[日本語のツイッター] https://twitter.com/YOKOfromLA

#250- Hello! Hello Kitty!!



Do you know how old Hello Kitty is?


She is 40 years old.




As you know, Hello Kitty is not a cat, she is a girl… I mean she is a 40 year-old-girl.




I wrote a column about her on Senken-Shimbun (major Japanese fashion business newspaper) website. So, I would like to share it with you. Please read below (my translation into English from Japanese).


 

***

 

Published on December , 2014 (in Japan)

By Yoko Fujimoto
Writer in Los Angeles


 

Title of the column: Celebration for Hello Kitty in L.A.!


 
Hello Kitty” is a representative character of Sanrio Company, Ltd. and “she” is an icon of Japanese pop culture in U.S.A. as well.
 
This year is the 40th anniversary of “Hello Kitty”, and Sanrio and the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles (L.A.) (http://www.janm.org ) celebrate it by the special exhibition “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty”. The exhibition opened on October 11th.
 
600 items of the first product in 1975 (coin case), rare & unique products and collaboration goods with companies & designers etc. , and 40 items of artworks of Hello Kitty motif by artists.
 
Mr. Koji Steven Sakai who is a vice president of programs at Japanese American National Museum explained, “Japanese American had a hard time for a long time, because of the racism. We are introducing the history of Japanese American at our museum, but Hello Kitty gave us the light. Since 1970s, American people see us (Japanese American and Japan) good images through Hello Kitty. That’s why this exhibition has a big meaning for our museum”.
 
An annual visitor of this museum is 10,000 people, but the first month of this exhibition had 30,000 visitors. This tells how popular Hello Kitty is. Not only women visitors, they have men visitors with children. There are wide range of visitors (age and race).
 
Some Asian American women said, Why Hello Kitty doesnt have a mouth? Do men think that quiet women are attractive? and they see the image of a maledominated society. Most of American understands that Hello Kitty has a mysterious charm, because she doesn’t have a mouth. She can being with us anytime when we feel happy or sad. It’s a simple cute character”.
 
Many visitors impressed by the Lady Gaga’s Hello Kitty dress which made of Hello Kitty’s stuffed dolls. This exhibition is until April 26, 2015.
 
Photo1:
Kitty-chan who is wearing the kimono like a kokeshi doll at the entrance welcomes us
 
Photo2:
Pencils, pencil box, backpack, water bottle, gum etc. We can enjoy each product through many showcases
 
Photo3:
Coin purse, this is the first product of Hello Kitty in 1975
 
Photo4:
Toaster, Rice cooker etc. most of the daily goods are making into a product of Hello Kitty
 
Photo5:
Grown-ups are also able to enjoy cute lifestyle with a Hello Kitty champagne glass
 
Photo6:
Tie to suit, these are for men’s fan of Kitty-chan
 
Photo7:
Roller skate and surfboard, these are good for California lifestyle with Kitty-chan
 
Photo8:
“Many visitors are wearing Hello Kitty’s T-shirts, shoes, jewelries etc”, Mr. Koji Steven Sakai who is a vice president of programs at Japanese American National Museum said


Photo9:
Local Hello Kitty doll of California and Hollywood


Photo10:
Corroboration goods with L.A. apparel brands “Paul Frank” and “Vans”, anniversary figure of L.A. baseball team “Los Angeles Dodgers” etc., there are many rare products
 
Photo11:
From left, artworks of Mr. Michael Courville (accomplished prop master for films, television shows, theater groups, and Sanrio’s Puroland theme park in Japan.), Mr. Paul Frank (The owner & designer of L.A. apparel brand “Paul Frank”) and Kozyndan (American husband-and-Japanese wife team of Kozue and Dan Kitchens)
 
Photo12:
This summer, the statement “Hello Kitty is not a cat, she is a girl” is in the news. This artwork is by the Swedish artist Julia Sh who lives in Los Angeles
 
Photo13:
It looks like a delicious cake art by Osamu Watanabe who is known for elaborate paintings, sculptures, and installations that mimic sweet foods such as cakes decorated with candies and fruits
 
Photo14:
This sculpture is by Simone Legno who is the creative director and co-founder of L.A. apparel brand “tokidoki”. It has full impact
 
Photo15:
Kawaii fashion of Japan is leading by Kitty-chan
 
Photo16:
Many visitors say “wow!” in front of this Lady Gaga’s dress which made of Hello Kitty’s stuffed dolls



***
The other day, my mother who lives in Tokyo, Japan said to me over the phone, “What? Kitty-chan doesn’t have a mouth???  I thought she has it”.
 
Even though my mother bought me so many goods of Hello Kitty since 1975, she didn’t realize that Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth.
  

I realized that “I didn’t think about the Hello Kitty’s mouth is important or not?”


Now, I really think about the meaning of the mouth…and I think…the meaning of the mouth doesn’t matter, we can feel happy without words (we don’t need a mouth!).
 
After I wrote this column on Senken-Shimbun, I counted how many goods of Hello Kitty do I have at my home in L.A. (most of goods are from my mother).

1- Key holder (it’s old, so I don’t use it anymore, but I can’t throw away…it’s my mother’s gift)


2- Hand towel (from my mother. I am using this as a mat for an iPhone)


3- Pouch with a schedule note book (from my mother. she sent me this in 2002 from Tokyo, I don’t use it anymore)



4- Letters and envelopes (from my mother)


5- Pouch (from my mother. I am using it right now, my wallet & handkerchief & tissue paper & business card case are in it)


6- Some tissue papers (from my mother)



7- Handkerchief (from my mother)


8- Nightgown (I bought it at Bloomingdale's in L.A.)


I didn’t realize that I still have 8 goods of Hello Kitty at home in L.A. (I am sure that my mother & I have more goods in my mother’s house in Tokyo, Japan.) Hello! Hello Kitty!


How about you? Have you counted goods of Hello Kitty at your home?


I hope you enjoyed the Hello Kitty’s small story and you have a big smile like her philosophy “small gift, big smile”.



By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles Dec , 2014
Copyright © 2014 Yoko Fujimoto 



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#144- To my people, Japanese people 米国より東日本大震災(東北地方太平洋沖地震)被災者および日本の皆様へメッセージ / 海外セレブからのお見舞い&応援メッセージ -Pray for Japan(日本に祈りを捧げます)-

Sorry folks, Today, I am going to write a message in Japanese, in my native language to Japanese people. If you read Japanese, please do.

I am going to write my thoughts for Japan &Japanese people and sending prayers to Japan & people in Japan.

Love,
Yoko

P.S. I am going to write in English next time. xoxo Y

******** My Japanese blog :

From LA by 藤本庸子      
(http://fromla.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2011/03/pray-for-japan-.html)


東日本大震災(東北地方太平洋沖地震)被災者および日本の皆様へ

このたびの東日本大震災(東北地方太平洋沖地震)により被災されたすべての方々に心からお見舞い申し上げます。そして、犠牲になられた方々とご遺族の皆様に、深くお悔やみを申し上げます。

日本にいらっしゃる皆様、どうかご無事で、早く、安心出来る暮らし、笑顔が戻ってきますように、心からお祈り申し上げます。


*** 米国でも多くの人が心を痛めており、皆様のご無事を願っています

東北・関東地方で起った大震災に心を痛めながら、私は、「米国在住のライターの私に、日本の皆様のために出来ることをしたい」と、こちらで流れるテレビニュースの画面を見つめながら、ずっと考えていました。

そうしていましたら、本日(ロサンゼルス:3月18日/日本:3月19日)、仕事でお付き合いのある茨城県在住の女性(実際にお会いしたことはありません)から、「テレビでも、世界各国からの応援メッセージをもっと放送して欲しい」とメールをいただきました。

早速、私が報道の仕事で関わっている日本のテレビ局、ラジオ局の幹部、報道記者の方々へ、この女性のメッセージを届け、放送に関してのお願いメールを送信致しました。


*** 米国在住の私に出来ることを考えてみました

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