Incidentally, I was one of those people free & crazy enough to join in the "Fun"...
I believe "Hello Kitty" is by far the most successful branding by the Toy Maker & Stationery Giant - Sanrio Co., Ltd. (株式会社サンリオ Kabushiki-kaisha Sanrio).
The word Sanrio comes from the Japanese word "San" and the Spanish one "Rio". These words mean "three" and "river" respectively.
Little known to many, other than their movie production and publishing Sanrio also participate in the fast food industry, running a franchise of KFC in Saitama. Sanrio also own the rights to the Peanuts characters in Japan.
The company produced a line of character merchandise around gift-giving occasions. It wasn't until 1973 that the company was officially established under the name "Sanrio."
Some of characters created are The Little Twin Stars (created by Mr. Tsuji himself), My Melody, Keroppi, Tuxedo Sam, Badtz-Maru, etc
Sanrio constantly adds new characters to its lineup (up to three a year), so some of the older characters go into retirement. Some of Sanrio's newest characters are Charmmy Kitty (Hello Kitty's pet cat), Kuromi (My Melody's rival) and Chi Chai Monchan (a pink monkey who balances bananas on his head).
Below are some of interesting accessories I seen in Singapore:
1) Hello Kitty Bowl Hugger.
In case you are wondering what's a bowl hugger...check out below :
2) The other interesting Hello Kitty product found here is the Hello KItty Exhaust Pipe owned by one of my neighbours.
Feel free to share sightings of rare hello kitty stuff here ; )