RIDE THE HELLO KITTY TRAIN
(P1) A high-speed train painted in the colors of Hello Kitty made its first ROUND TRIP between the cities of Taipei and Taitung in Taiwan.
(P2) About 200 fans of the Hello Kitty character won tickets to take the four-hour trip.
(P3) Painted over the train’s exterior, the famed cat also dominates the interior, appearing on walls, headrest covers, serving carts, and meal boxes.
(P4) Passengers actually stole more than 300 of the headrest covers following the INAUGURAL ride.
(P5) The train is designed to attract international visitors.
(P6) “The design concept behind this train is ‘Travel around the world with Hello Kitty,'” a spokesman said.
(P7) The train’s eight cars are painted to reflect different travel scenes: Taipei, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, North and South America, and the North and South Poles.
(P8) The final car shows the counties of Hualien and Taitung on Taiwan’s eastern coast.
(P9) Japanese cartoon company Sanrio designed a special Kitty character, dressed in a captain’s hat and uniform, to serve as train master.
(P10) The 376-seat train will run again between Taipei and Taitung on March 25, and between Taipei and Hualien on March 27, to mark the 90th anniversary of the Hualien-Taitung line’s opening.
(P11) Starting April 21, it’s scheduled to run between Taipei’s Shulin Station and Taitung’s Zhiben Station on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
(P12) Japanese firm Sanrio launched Hello Kitty in 1974. It belongs on the list of global ICONS that somehow never stop being cool.
(P13) More than four decades later, the character ACCOUNTS FOR 75% of Sanrio’s $142 million annual PROFIT.
(P14) The Hello Kitty image has been LICENSED to appear on every sort of product.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Is Hello Kitty popular in your country?
- Do you like or dislike cute characters?
- Did you have a favorite cartoon or comic book character when you were a child?
- Why do popular cartoon characters have big eyes?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Round trip
- Account for