Character Contacts

Character Contacts

‘Characters’ are huge in Japan – cute creatures promote everything from TV stations to tourist hotspots, and if you love any of the famous faces from the likes of Sanrio or Studio Ghibli you will be spoilt for choice on clothes, toys, stationery and accessories.

And this is not just for youngsters. You would be surprised at how many adults are proud to sport their Hello Kitty lace socks or their Totoro shoulder bags.

If you are less of the sort who spends the weekend in full costume as your favourite character, but prefer to keep your allegiance more low key, there are also many options. Rather than hitting the streets in Sailor Moon’s distinctive schoolgirl uniform, for example, you could simply wear the lingerie version instead.

The latest fascinating trend along these lines is for character contact lenses. Those Sailor Moon fans can also transform their eyes into the sparkling shades of the 5 main characters with ‘moon prism’ lenses for only ¥2,300.

Anyone who prefers the cuter, cuddly animal characters can find something even better. Lenses are available in varying soft shades of pink and brown, which incorporate tiny pictures of the characters printed round the coloured part of the lens.

You can choose Hello Kitty, My Melody or Little Twin Stars, although the designs are so small and intricate I suspect someone would have to get very close indeed to make them out.

All these are non-prescription, obviously, and they come in 2 different sets – 5 pairs of one day only lenses for ¥1,800, and a single set you can wear for a whole month, for ¥2,000.

Hello Kitty Dim Sum

kitty 4 kitty 3

Sanrio’s multi-billion dollar cat has been around since the 1970s, and from humble origins as a kawaii or ‘cute’ character aimed at Japanese children, has grown to world domination. You can find Hello Kitty pretty much everywhere from fashionable accessories to kitchen appliances and even extremely expensive jewellery. And food.

I have seen plenty of sweets and cookies shaped like Kitty or simply her famous bow, but dim sum came as a bit of a surprise. We happened to inch past this restaurant in a Hong Kong traffic jam, without quite realising what it was, but when I saw it advertised in a food guide later, I knew I had to go back.

For Hello Kitty fans, this restaurant is a must see. Everywhere you look – furniture, crockery, pictures, light fittings – that famous face stares back. I would say smiles, except of course that Hello Kitty does not have a mouth…

Being by myself, I could only sample a small number of the themed offerings on the menu, but, quite apart from looking amazing, everything I tried was very tasty indeed and I enjoyed myself immensely. It probably helped that I was surrounded by giddy Asian girls taking endless photos, and a highly amused, very friendly staff.

So –  flaky char siew (barbeque pork) pastries, translucent rice flour har gau (prawn dumplings), and chicken vegetable pao (steamed buns), all decorated with cute Kitty faces and pretty pink bows. Even the paper underneath the dumplings in their steaming baskets was a Hello Kitty shape.

kitty 2 kitty 5 kitty 9

It was all a highly entertaining interlude, and (by the time the very nice manager had brought me a chocolate and mango Kitty dessert on the house) so filling I did not manage to eat dinner later. Which, since this cost almost HK$200, was probably just as well. And I promised, should I ever be in Hong Kong again with daughters #1 or #2 in tow, I will be back…

kitty 7 kitty 6 kitty 8