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Monday, August 13, 2018

Exploring Japan Vol 10 - The Insanity That is Hello Kitty Land!

So last week we talked about Godzilla and I mentioned that he’s harder to find than you’d think.  The same cannot be said about Hello Kitty.  She is everywhere.  You’ll see her on snack foods, clothing, advertisements, and even in PSA’s on the windows of taxi cabs and trains.  There is no escaping Hello Kitty or any of her cohorts. 

Just check out that ceiling in the train station near Sanrio Puroland.  Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, why is Cary even writing about this? 

Well, I am but one of three people who were traveling together on this trip.  Since my wife and daughter generously tolerated my Godzilla obsession, I owed them and they exacted payment in the form of a Sanrio Puroland visit.

What is Sanrio Puroland? 

It’s basically the Hello Kitty equivalent of Disneyland.  There are multiple parks across Japan but the one closest to us was in Tama New Town about a 45 minute train ride outside of Akihabara.  The entire park is indoors and there are rides, shows, a parade, games, themed foods and lots and lots of opportunities to buy Sanrio toys.

So yeah, just like Disneyland.

I know I’m making it sound like I only went along because I was paying back a debt.  That’s not entirely true.  My wife gave me an opportunity to back out but I didn’t take it.  The fact is, I knew that there would be weirdness here and honestly, I didn’t want to miss out.  Case in point, the creamery.

You may think that all ice cream just comes from cow’s milk, but you have no idea what kind of work goes into creating an ice cream cone at Sanrio Puroland.

First, there’s the cow who’s smiling even though there’s an industrial sized pipe coming from underneath her and into...

a sentient mixing bowl (who seems to be in horrible pain).  

Notice that above it there are the two very cold chickens who apparently drop eggs (shell included) into the same mixing bowl. 

After the concoction is mixed, it’s sent through to the next stage where the Goat Supervisor (I kept referring to him as the Overlord), coerces sentient jars of ingredients to drop their loads into said ice cream.

It’s all then piped over to a place where it’s put into cones.  However, next to the cone area are these guys who seem to spend all day eating fruit and getting hammered on whatever’s being poured by the guy with the two jugs just underneath Santa.  Oh yeah, the Jolly Old Elf is involved in all of this somehow. 

See?  How could I miss this?  And that's just one, tiny little area inside this giant building!  There are so many highlights I could show you.

Like the ride with the giant Seal who stares you down as you head into it.

This guy who obviously has a thing for this monkey’s butt.

Giant playsets where you can interact with Hello Kitty.

A virtual dress-up game where a guy like me can show off my feminine side.

A sad egg you can sit next to and commiserate with when you realize you’re just not pretty enough.

Another egg with a fully formed human butt for some reason. 

What is it with the butts around this place?

And speaking of butts, even the bathroom stalls are themed.  

The one thing you need to know up front though is that all of this is in Japanese.  There is very little English to be found here so if you decide to go and you don’t read or speak the language, understand that you’re going just to watch the weirdness unfold, but trust me.  There is more than enough of that to entertain you for a few hours.

If you’re on the fence about seeing this for yourself, I don’t blame you so, I’m going to let you in on my favorite part.  Inside the park, there’s a boat ride.  It takes you along on the gang’s adventures and one character is known for being a troublemaker.

Imagine my surprise when we turned a corner to find him smoking and gambling at the pachinko parlor!  It was awesome but then we turned another corner to find…

His mother had caught him and was giving him the spanking of his life!  So yeah, if you want to see some strange stuff, head to Sanrio Puroland. 

Next time around, I’ll show you another indoor funhouse/amusement park that has a cool, scary twist to it. 

1 comment:

- The M.A.D. Hapa said...

I love the dress up pic and also Karen's expression in the tea room.