In the virtual world, Japan has earned a name for itself for...well, its obsession with strange things. So, it's perhaps nothing out of the ordinary for Japan to have a Hello Kitty-themed bullet train. West Japan Railway Co (JR West) unveiled this train that will run for three months between Osaka and Fukuoka. The authorities are hoping that this move will attract more tourists and breathe new life into the regional communities of Western Japan.
In this Shinkansen, the first carriage doesn't have any seats but is a shop of sorts. Passengers can go there and pick up regional souvenirs and specialist items.
The second carriage, however, has a Hello Kitty travel guide in the railway uniform. Fans can take pictures with the guide if they wish to. The rest of the train - inside and outside - is completely done up in Hello Kitty theme. From the carpets to the head rests, everything bears Hello Kitty.
There will also be a special Hello Kitty chime that will play inside the train.
Not only that, they are also planning to open a Hello Kitty-themed cafe and shop at Fukuoka's Hakata station.
"We want Japanese and overseas people from a wide range of generations to enjoy this shinkansen [bullet train]," said Takehiro Zai, JR West sales director.
Why Hello Kitty, you ask? Japan, as well as most of East Asia loves the feline character.
"Hello Kitty represents the deep desire among all people, regardless of nationality or race, to feel joy and happiness, without having to qualify it at any deep intellectual level. Hello Kitty doesn't judge. She lets you feel how you feel without forcing you to question why," said Kazuo Tohmatsu, PR manager for Hello Kitty to BBC Culture.