Japan is supposed to be the land of conformity, a land where nobody has original ideas, where everyone unquestioningly follows the pack. But every now and then, people in Japan come up with some things so bewildering that you wonder where the idea could possibly have come from!
The Hello Kitty “Snow Kitty” is one of these. The ultimate present for kids who have never had a chance to play with snow, I was told by the Sanrio employee who invented this. For 4,800 yen, payable online or by bank transfer, the reliable blokes at the Sagawa Kyubin delivery service will deliver right to your door a frozen Kitty-chan snowman made of snow hand-packed in Hokkaido the very day before!
The picture above shows the plastic mold on the right into which the snow is packed, and the left is an actual Snow Kitty which came out of the package. The Kitty arrives in a refrigerated delivery pack, with the snow packed inside the mold. The kids can then have great fun taken out the frozen Kitty, and sticking the 2 eyes, 1 nose, and six whiskers, which are included in the package, onto Kitty’s face.
I imagine that soon after that, Kitty either proceeds to melt slowly into the carpet, or begins the next chilly phase of her life in the family freezer, next to a leg of Hokkaido lamb.
A scene from Otaru, where the snow is packed into the kitty shaped moulds (So many potential Kitty Chans!)
With its many historical buildings, Otaru, one of Japan’s leading tourist destinations, now has another notch on it’s belt as the chilly birthplace for the latest incarnation of the ubiquitous Cat (who, turning 30 this year maybe should not be called Kitty any more).
Hello Kitty was born at Tokyo based Sanrio in 1976. The very first Kitty product was a small clear vinyl coin purse (pictured here) which sold for 240 yen at the time. Kitty is now a phenomenon, adorning over 22,000 products and accounting for over half of Sanrio’s $1 billion yearly revenue (although the person I spoke to suggested it was more likely up to 75-80%). The immense popularity and importance of Kitty in Japanese culture, in both children and adults is highlighted by the fact that this is her 2nd article on Stippy out of over 100, the other of which discussed her relationship with Paris Hilton.
This wealth of licensing revenue has allowed for quite a free reign for Kitty product inventors inside the company to try anything they think might work, such as Snow Kitties. This is exacerbated by the floors, walls, and roof of the Kitty product design rooms at the Tokyo headquarters of Sanrio, all being painted bright pink (but that’s a story for another day).
A monster Snow Kitty at an Otaru snow festival
The official page for the Sanrio Snow Kitty is here, but please beware that it is noted in the instructions that due to the nature of this product, a money-back guarantee is not included, this product cannot be returned, and also cannot be delivered to far away islands (Okinawa etc, although the Hopporyodos are okay I suppose!). Kids, please do not eat Kitty-chans eyes, nose or whiskers. And please beware of yellow snow. (Okay, I made that last piece up…)