Hello Kitty adds Japanese exorcism to her work repertoire, Twitter baffled and amused

Is there anything Kitty can’t do? She can spiritually purify your house or room with salt now, so tell your ghost stories without fear of retribution!

Hello Kitty is one of the world’s foremost workaholics. When she isn’t manning her own Shinkansen train, teaming up with the Japan Coast Guard, starring in her own movie, attending the weddings of fans, breathing new life into the Bon Odori dance, toiling at a cake store for charity or revolutionizing the very currency of her home country, Kitty can be found sticking her adorably chubby paws into all manners of corporate pies.

The CEO of Sanrio itself has been candid about why the company is constantly clamoring to collaborate. Not only does Kitty get to spread her brand, but she gets to boost the awareness of all manner of different companies! Back in 2017, Kitty joined forces with interior design company Belluna to create perhaps the strangest of all of her collaborations to date, and a viral tweet has gotten everyone chatting about it again.

“With it being summer and all, I’m itching to tell some good ghost stories. I should get a morijio to purify the area so no spirits curse me… Ah, they have a Hello Kitty morijio.”

Summer is the typical time in Japan to huddle with your friends and tell a bone-chilling scary story. The slow, creeping heat; the dismal whir of cicadas in the background… It’s a great atmosphere to generate goose-flesh. But if you’re superstitious, you might want to take precautions that your levity doesn’t anger any wrathful spirits in the area. Cue the humble morijio, or ‘salt pile’.

You may have seen these pointy piles of salt around shrines, on the porches of houses or in the windows of restaurants. The reason they’re popular is two-fold: first is an enduring Heian-period urban legend that the salt will lure the oxen of rich merchants to your store and boost your business, much like how Kitty does to flagging franchises. The second is that salt is a purifier, and putting the little pile of salt out front shows that your house or store is free of pesky spirits.

Belluna’s collaborative item, the Hello Kitty Happy Morijio Set, comes in a stylish dusky pink. It consists of two parts: a small geometric dish edged with gold lacquer to rest your salt on top of, and a cap to cover the salt with so it can maintain its perfect cone shape. The cap even comes adorned with a tiny, perfect Kitty ribbon! A steal at 3,800 yen (US$33.70) plus tax.

Alas – even with the renewed interest around the spooky summer season, the Happy Morijio Set is all sold out on Belluna, leaving horror fans decidedly unhappy. Here’s hoping they restock this bizarre item so we can enjoy Kitty’s cute aesthetic even while ridding our houses of malevolent energy.

Source, featured image: Belluna

We go to Kyushu’s Miyazaki Prefecture to feel like giants in (on?) a tiny party train【Photos】

Going slightly loco-motive in the stunning scenery of Japan’s southern Kyushu island, with bubbles!

Takachiho, in the northern part of Miyazaki Prefecture, is known the place where myths and legends dwell. While there are plenty of spots like Takachiho Gorge or Takachiho Shrine to appreciate both the stunning scenery and consider the legends of the Japanese gods, there’s a way to admire them that’s become hugely popular in the form of the Takachiho Amaterasu Railway’s “supercart,” and we had to go and discover what all the fuss was about.

The name of the railway, Amaterasu, is the name of the Shinto goddess of the sun and according to mythology the current Emperor’s great-great-great (and then a few more greats)-grandmother. What kind of train would a railway company with that name run? Perhaps a stately wooden shrine on wheels, manned exclusively by conductor-monks, and sedately running through the beautiful countryside to an accompaniment of jingly bells? Since the train we would be taking was called the Grand Supercart, maybe not.

While the railway line stopped transporting passengers in 2005, the line is now run as a tourist attraction where visitors can take in the breathtaking scenery or even try driving one of the railways’ old diesel locomotives.

Unlike the diesel train driving experience though, the supercart doesn’t require booking in advance, and you don’t need to buy a ticket for a specific time either. Our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma rocked up at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and after purchasing his ticket for 1,300 yen (US$12) discovered that the next train he could ride would be just a 20-minute wait, although it’s supposed to be much busier during the summer holidays.

Incidentally, on the same day, hiring a rowing boat in the nearby Takachiho Gorge (2,000 yen for 30 minutes) had a two-and-a-half-hour wait, so those waiting about for a boat would have plenty of time to fit in the super cart ride as well.

What to do while you wait? Our writer plumped for Amaterasu udon noodles at 500 yen at the station cafe, bemused by the auspicious name of the dish and also of the cafe, Miracolo, the Italian for miracle. Unfortunately, there were no St. Peter pancakes, Solomon sandwiches or Odin omelettes to accompany it.

Having finished his repast, the time for the train’s arrival was drawing near. Other passengers started to turn up, and then it came.

Daubed in garish pink, the supercart pulled into the little station, completely unlike anything we’d expected from a railway with such a sacred name. Takachiho may be the town where gods dwell, but this mode of transport is unusual to say the least, eschewing stately grandeur for a train seemingly more at home in a children’s play park or shopping centre.

Following the driver’s instructions and clambering into, or more accurately onto, the miniature-sized train, our writer was pleasantly surprised. He had a sense of size and power in the tiny train as usually only granted by dressing up as Godzilla and stamping around on cardboard skyscrapers, or sticking four Kit Kat Chunky bars together to form a jumbo-version of the standard bar. The thirty passengers took to their seats, and with a rush of anticipation, the supercart started to pull away from the platform on its journey into the mythical landscape of Takachiho.

The train journey takes you on a two-and-a-half-kilometre (1.6-mile) trp from Takachiho station to the Takachiho railway bridge, and then back again, taking about 30 minutes. With no roof on the miniature train, our writer was able to feel the refreshing breeze in his hair as he zipped along, then suddenly a tunnel appeared and…

The roof of the tunnel was lit up like a disco, as our writer was transported instantly from the tranquil view of green hills and forests to a church of dance with bright colours swaming around him. Outside the tunnel again, the driver resumed his double-duties as tour guide, explaining some of the history and highlights of this part of the world. Another tunnel approached, but this time the train exited to reveal…

…the Takachiho railway bridge, said to have been the tallest in Asia at the time it first opened to trains back in 1972. The train paused for a moment for the driver to warn passengers that in cases of strong winds, the train would have to turn back. Fortunately, lady luck was on our writer’s side and there was barely a zephyr to be felt. With an all too clear view of the very solid-looking ground, sharp rocks and water far below, the supercart rolled forwards, until coming to a stop in the middle of the crossing.

The distance from the open-topped mini-train to the surface of the water in the gorge below is 105 metres (344 feet), more than a 30-storey tall building. The train started off again, with the driver filling the air with a stream of bubbles from a device next to him. Despite the knocking of his knees, our writer discovered that the enchanting view explained the reason why people must have thought the gods lived here, as the green, dream-like scenery spread in every direction. Stunning as it was, it’s supposed to be even prettier still during the mountain cherry blossom season in spring, or as the leaves change colour in autumn.

On the way back our writer was again amazed and filled with child-like delight by the torrents of bubbles and the tunnel light shows, but all too soon his super-cart super-adventure was over.

The supercart runs about ten times a day, with extra trains on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays and during the obon summer holidays. After alighting from the supercart, you can even go and see its big brother, one of the trains that made up the now-closed railway line’s carriage stock. Well worth a trip to Kyushu, especially as the island is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the Kanto or Kansai conurbations and home to so much of Japan’s most stunning scenery.

Location information:
Takachiho Amaterasu Railway / 高千穂あまてらす鉄道
Address: Miyazaki-ken, Nishiusuki-gun, Takachiho, Mitai 1425-1
宮崎県西臼杵郡高千穂町三田井1425-1
Open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. (from 9.20 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays from 1 March to 30 November and during Golden Week and the obon summer holiday).
Closed the third Thursday of every month (unless it falls in Golden Week or the obon summer holiday)

Photos: ©SoraNews24

Cosmetic wizardry: Asian women removing makeup to reveal their true selves goes viral【Video】

Watch them undergo some serious transformations.

It might take a while to learn the ways of the brush, but devote some time to cosmetics and their various applications, and the results will be nothing short of astonishing.

A recent makeup removal video featuring Asian women is a case in point. Watching them peel off eyelash extensions, remove adhesives, and wipe away layers of cosmetics ends up looking like reversed versions of magical girl transformations.

▼ The video is strangely mesmerizing.

The video has garnered over 66 million views in less than a month, and watching how these girls drastically change their appearances within a few seconds, we can understand why it went viral.

▼ What a dramatic change.

▼ She’s almost like a totally different person.

Beauty standards in Asia have evolved through the ages, with women now emphasizing having fair skin, slimmer faces, large eyes, and double eyelids.

Despite the girls featured in the video achieving near doll-like appearances, an overwhelming majority of netizens agree that they look great even without makeup:

“This is disturbing and mesmerizing at the same time. Why do so many races/cultures seem to believe looking more Caucasian is preferred? Everybody is beautiful in their own way.”

“They don’t even look that bad, so why do they completely change their face? I don’t wear makeup but I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to accept what you have.”

“If there’s one thing that makes me so mad/upset, it’s people feeling like they need to change themselves because they don’t feel good enough.”

Cosmetics and makeup can greatly enhance facial features to achieve desirable looks, but that’s not their sole purpose. Some use beauty products to express themselves and explore their artistic side, utilizing their face as canvas to create extraordinary works of art.

Source: Facebook/ES China via Next Shark
Insert images: Facebook/ES China
Top image: Pakutaso