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Laura at Sanrio Puroland

So when I was in Japan, I went to this place called Sanrio Puroland, which is the Hello Kitty theme park. I didn't even know there was one. Let me tell you. If you though two men having sexual intercourse was the gayest thing you'd ever seen, you've never been to Sanrio Puroland. That's neither praise nor condemnation, simply God's honest truth. It was the gayest place ever, and I marched in the Pride Parade last year.
Sanrio Puroland entrance

            Sanrio Puroland is one of those girly castles with the spires and towers and sparkly stars and everything. In the center is a giant gnarled and knotted old tree named "The Wisdom Tree," which is made out of plastic. Surrounding that are the rooms housing exhibits: "The Legend of Goal", "Discovery Theater", "Time Machine of Dreams", the boat ride, and, of course, "Fairyland."

            We didn't do all of the exhibits, but we did see the end of a Shakespeare-comedy-esque mistaken-identity gender-bending role-reversing fairy-having play in Fairyland, and we saw a Dear Daniel rap show under the Wisdom Tree (I swear one of the lines was "They think he's homosexual"), and we went on the boat ride. In an otherwise weird-ass theme park, I thought the boat ride best evidenced Sanrio's worrying sway towards bland Disneyism. It was just like "It's A Small World After All" or, in fact, any Disney ride you like.

The passengers were passive rather than active participants in their entertainment, riding a multi-car plastic boat in two inches of water through scenes of Sanrio characters in their natural habitats. You know, the monkey and his family swinging through the trees; the frog in his suburban neighborhood; the fish being a bartender; the penguin being spanked by his mom; and Hello Kitty getting married. All automated, robotted, with annoying music and shrill, unintelligible voices (perhaps rendered unintelligible by the fact that I don't know Japanese).

Sanrio Wedding

Here, kitty, kitty.

            The best exhibit by far was Hello Kitty's house. In an alarming invasion of privacy, you actually got to go, in small groups, into Hello Kitty's actual home. It's like being invited to dinner with the queen, except instead of dinner, you go to her house, and instead of being invited, you pay money to sneak in when she's not there.

            I gotta say, Hello Kitty's pretty self-centered. Everything in her house bore her name, or was stamped with her likeness, or both. Her main foyer displayed a plaster carving of her own face surrounded by roses, a stained-glass window of herself as an angel, and a chandelier. It was classy.

            I did feel weird about just wandering through her house, though. There were no velvet ropes or anything, so I wasn't breaking any rules, but I did feel guilty at first. I mean, I sat in several of her chairs, rifled through her medicine cabinet, tasted her porridge, and drank all her beer. And when she came home to find me in bed with Dear Daniel, I didn't know what to say. Luckily, a cool 500 yen later, and she was standing next to me, smilin' for the camera. She's become such a sell-out.


- Laura