Hello Kitty may not be a cat -- we've all had well over a year to collectively wrap our minds around this notion -- but that has in no way dimmed the Sanrio character's expansive light. She is still a pop culture legend, recognizable throughout the world as she spreads glitter and smiles and sparkle and pink-hued happiness.
And her special brand of glitter falls upon Southern California, like confetti, on an amazingly consistent basis these days.
There was the mega exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in 2014, the first-ever Hello Kitty Convention (which promptly sold out), the Hello Kitty-themed rooms at The Line Hotel in Koreatown, and the Hello Kitty Scavenger Hunt, all within a short time frame.
Other Hello Kitty characters have been calling upon our shores -- say hello to Gudetama, the lazy egg, who is the currently featured at all of the Plan Check restaurants -- and new happenings spring up with all the ease of a smile on a Sanrio superstar's sweet face.
Two fresh happenings, in fact, are on the way. The Hello Kitty Truck will call upon the Glendale Galleria on Saturday, Nov. 21, and a Hello Kitty Café Pop-Up will open at the Irvine Spectrum Center later in November and continue right through into 2016.
Hello Kitty and both locations have been cozy in the past; the icon's pink-pretty truck visited Glendale and Irvine in the spring, selling Hello Kitty-shaped treats, cups, cookies that look like bows, and macaroons bearing the visage of H.K. herself.
The café will carry similar items to the truck, with decorated sweets, fancy coffees, and Sanrio-character'd mementos on the menu.
As for a permanent Hello Kitty restaurant? That, too, is on the whimsical wind: A release from the Irvine Spectrum Center revealed that the Japan-based company "will expand its food service venture in the U.S. late next year, with the opening of a permanent Hello Kitty location at an as of yet undisclosed Southern California location."
While you dream of where this slice of winsomeness might show up, make for the Giant Wheel Court at the Irvine Spectrum for meow-y magic at the semi-permanent pop-up. Queues and crowds tend to be on the standard side for anything Hello Kitty does, do note, so a morning arrival, or the willingness to make new friends as you wait in line, will serve fans well.
After all, Hello Kitty may not be a cat but she, officially, "a friend."