‘Hello Kitty’ Provides Decor for Japanese Bullet Train

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What the world does not need is the design scheme of West Japan Railway’s latest bullet train:  It’s Hello Kitty theme extends from the exterior to interior carpets, seat covers and… too much more to mention. Even that much is too much, some contend, as the railway strives to boost tourism (simply to see Hello Kitty every time you turn around?).

This sounds like a scheme cooked up by ‘salary men’ (office workers) as they alcoholically transition from the work day to the commute home.

Hello Kitty, a pink and white cartoon character created in 19974 by Yuko Shimizu, has, according to Vogue, has ever since been “beloved” by the Japanese. The character’s image has been imposed on “everything from coin purses to backpacks, vending machines, and now, a hurtling technological marvel”.

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Americans often perceive Japanese (and Chinese) people to be “inscrutable” – hard to comprehend. While many Americans have been sucked into the Hello Kitty promotional cess pool, remember that, when all is said again, Hello Kitty is nothing, really, but a marketing device – and a rather silly one at that.

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What, at the end of the day, is the character meant to be portraying? Happiness? Silliness? Cuteness?

Once there was one ‘happy face’ image. Now there’s a bunches of them. Some have obvious meanings. Many don’t.

Interpersonal communication is becoming ever more complicated. Trying to make sense of what this or that person, this or that media outlet, is really trying to tell you, is getting tougher and tougher.

Young adults today seem to have a lot of trouble communicating with others  —  of their own age group and others. They don’t seem to understand that [1] complete sentences are communicative; fractional ones aren’t; [2] offering fractional answers without referring, clearly, to the question, is not communicating; (Are you in that much of a hurry to get on to…?)

While using a real or imagined animal for promotional purposes is hardly new – think the Geico insurance company’s mascot – we can only hope the Hello Kitty bullet train barely survives its initial 3-month trial run. To the annoyance of many, the talking gecko carries on years after it was introduced in 2005.

But its reign may be coming to an end: When Irish actor Jake Wood was axed from the gecko-voice roll in late 2015, fans (fans??) took to Twitter to complain, and it’s rumored they still haven’t taken well to the replacement voice. Me? I wouldn’t know: I have no interest in car insurance commercials; particularly Geico ones!

 

 

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