Hello Kitty balloons for sale along with others
on the streets of Yogyakarta :)
Very pink and Hello Kitty-fied vehicles line a Yogyakarta lane! :b
While strolling about in Cologne with my German friend a few years back, we came across a bunch of Hello Kitty items on display in a shop window. In Hong Kong (the home of such as the world's first Hello Kitty pop-up supermarket, and where nary a day goes by without my making a Hello Kitty spotting of some sort or other), this wouldn't be that unremarkable a sight. But in Germany, it was so unusual that it caused us to stop in our tracks and gape for at least a few moments at its very existence!
All in all, I reckon it's easy enough to conclude that Hello Kitty is (and her fans are) more easily found in Asia than Europe or any other continent. I've been told that South Asia is a kawaii desert where few fans of the cute cat character are to be found -- but, since I've never been to that part of the world (at least not beyond a couple of its airports), I can't personally vouch for this. What I do know for a fact is that I've seen Hello Kitty products wherever else I've been to in the world's largest continent: including Japan (but of course!), South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia (where quite a number of Hello Kitty items can be found at my family home alone!).
Still, all this didn't prepare me for how mega popular the furry feline character looks to be in Yogyakarta -- or maybe all of Indonesia! It's not just that, like in Hong Kong, one will invariably spot Hello Kitty's visage on a clothing item, bag or such when in a crowd or that many a private car has a large Hello Kitty decal on its back, sides, front or all of the aforementioned. Rather, there's also the fact that a popular tourist item is a T-shirt emblazoned on the front with the words "Hello Yogyakarta" and the kawaii character's face (along with some misspelled words that confirm that it's unlikely to have been a Sanrio-approved product)!
Nonetheless, all these previous spottings didn't prepare me for the sight that greeted my German friend and I on a quiet lane that we found ourselves walking along soon after exiting the kraton. For after a morning viewing traditional cultural dances, portraits of Yogyakarta royalty and such, pretty much the last thing we'd expect to see in the area would be a line of Hello Kitty-fied vehicles which looked to be old Morris Minors or Volkswagons that had been hollowed out and tranformed into pedal-powered transportation as well as painted very pink indeed! :D