What do I have in common with a small, Japanese feline?


Having recently celebrated my 21st birthday for the 13th time I came to realize that while your childhood may seem to slip away, some things from it are enduring.

In my case, one of those somethings happens to be a one-dimensional, very cute character named Hello Kitty. A forerunner in the west of Japanese anime-like artistic sensibility, debuting in 1974 and taking the globe by storm.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was the proud wielder of such merchandise as a Hello Kitty purse, eraser and all manner of stationery. (And yes, I also owned a Little Twin Stars pencil case, and a My Melody pencil sharpener!)

Today, I walk past the Sanrio store on Times Square to witness the multitude of merchandise that is now available, and the people of all ages who buy it — from the adult-sized pink bicycle (it lasted but a week in the window and the women who bought it cycled off on it!); to the club-stylin’ furry purses bearing the images of kitty and her greatly expanded panopoly of pals.

The shocking thing is, Ms Kitty is also in her thirties, celebrating her birthday in tandem with mine and nominated as a special friend of the organization I work for.

It seems amazing to me that this character from my childhood has such staying power and hasn’t faded like most fads in a season or two.

“How did a cartoon character so simple in design



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