The List of 27
It's been a long time since I've done the kitty-search on the web. It's been a rude awakening.
I was doing "research" for my next kitty post and was appalled to see the changes at Asunarosha. All of the old versions of regional items as well as their artwork have been removed and what remains is a tiny collection and some lukewarm artwork. While the older kitty mascots still rattle around the train stations and souvenir haunts, I miss seeing those little square thumbnails of artwork and their vague, haiku-ish names. I miss the fast, encyclopedic reference the other parts of the site provided as well. I know. Everything changes, progress, expansion, etc. I get that. There was only so long the regional kitty craze would last, but for me, those Japanese cultured critters epitomized "The Way of Cute". Kawaii-do. They did it far better than a pair of pink fuzzy slippers or a cat-shaped toaster.
As I wistfully dug through my packed up boxes of Regional Hello Kitty items (note the capitalization that suggests a level of seriousness to an otherwise girlie-cutsie endeavor), I came across a very precious item. It was a treasure list that I had created six years ago when I was living in another time and place... sometimes I think it was another reality as well. It was a pictorial list of the 27 Japanese Regional Hello Kitty Plushes that I had to have. I yearned for these kitties. I ached for them. I looked all over eBay and found myself lucky a few times, but for the most part, I was fighting tooth and nail to find these little treasures.
The list was inspired and literally built on the pictures from a gallery I found online back in the early days. It was called Nyankovivi.com and was primarily focused on the sale of those adorable San-X Nyan Nyanko cat plushes. The site also featured a gallery of her (or his for all I know) Japanese Regional Hello Kitty plushie collection which was not for sale. It was my source, my bible, my gestalt...
I giggled when I found this mashed-up list. A smug grin followed. Not just because I kept the list, but because I found those little you-know-whats. This list was my trophy; my testament for having stayed in the line of battle; for never giving up hope that I would find the Dazaifu Plum kitty; for being so freakin' serious about getting these stuffed animals mounted on my wall! Now, I am just grateful to have this memento because Nyankovivi.com is gone. Poof. So is that gallery that inspired so many bidding wars on eBay. I hope it returns in some form or another....
The plushies were up in my new abode for a little while, but I eventually put them away. I also stopped collecting. Not really sure why. Am I growing older and more boring? Am I pretending to be an adult? Does it matter? All I know is that the cute army has retired to some nice boxes in my closet. Their days of fighting off boogie monsters and channeling displaced hostility are at an end. At rest, but not out of sentimental value. They still have that ability to pique my curiosity and dig a bit deeper into my family's cultural past. They call, mewl, moew and entice and puzzle me. In fact one is calling me now, asking about Arabian princesses and camels in Japan...(hint: that's the next post)