I have a bit of an embarrassing collection, and I think it’s time for me to talk about it.
I collect Hello Kitty phone charms from every single prefecture I visit, which means I currently have 26 tiny, ridiculous Hello Kitty charms hanging on my bedroom wall.
It’s the kind of thing I would never have imagined myself doing before I moved here, but now it’s kind of an obsession.
When I was told I had been accepted for the internship at Metropolis Magazine, I thought “Yes! What a great opportunity to learn about magazine publishing!”
When I was told that part of that internship period would be spent in Yamaguchi Prefecture, I thought “Yes! I can get the Yamaguchi Kitty!”
The Kittys are silly, I know, but each one that I get says something about the prefecture or city I buy it in.
This is the first one I bought, the Hiroshima Kitty, holding the little origami crane which has become the symbol of Hiroshima and its peace movement.
Ehime Kitty is inside a box of the oranges for which Ehime Prefecture is well known.
Osaka Kitty is dressed as takoyaki, the octopus balls for which the city is so famous.
Beppu, in Oita Prefecture is known for its active geysers, called the Hells, so Beppu Kitty is dressed as the city’s little devil mascot.
Tokyo Kitty is photographing an extremely out of proportion Tokyo Tower, and Nagano Kitty has a wee snowboard and woolly hat.
The Kittys are usually very easy to find, most souvenir stores, airports, train stations, and some convenience stores stock a range of the region-specific Kittys, and the hard part is usually deciding if I want Nagoya Kitty dressed as a chicken wing, or perched on top of Nagoya Castle.
I’m pretty sure that this is the only country in the world where a collection like this is cute; in the rest of the world it’s probably just embarrassing.
But I love my Kitty collection, and I when I leave Japan later this year they will be coming with me to my next home.
Along with my Hello Kitty phone cover, my Hello Kitty sequinned ugg boots, my Hello Kitty earphone jack charm….