Questions asked about Hello Kitty’s origins; the return of Otto von Bismarck’s voice; and, the backwards talking girl…Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
• Questions are apparently being asked about the citizenship of iconic cat cutie Hello Kitty following the publication of a new book, Hello Kitty’s Guide to Japan in English and Japanese. According to the official biography published by Sanrio, the company that owns the rights to her, Hello Kitty (real name Kitty White) was born in London. But, according to some, Kitty is so knowledgable about Japan in the new guide, which was reportedly authorised by Sanrio, that “the reader can only surmise she is either Japanese or an amazingly bilingual Japanese studies scholar”. The catfight has raised the ire of many in Japan and elsewhere and sparked countless internet debates but so far there’s been no official clarification forthcoming. Stay tuned.
• The voice of former German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck has been heard for the first time in 100 years in a series of remarkable recordings digitally restored by the Thomas Edison National Park museum in the US. The recordings, in which Bismarck can be heard reciting parts of songs and poetry in English, Latin, French, and German - including France’s national anthem, La Marseillaise - and advising his son Herbert to “live life in moderation”, was made in 1889 using a wax cylinder phonograph. Discovered in 1957, research on the recordings did not reportedly start until 2005.
• Being able to say words backwards is quite a remarkable feat yet Alyssa, a girl from Oklahoma in the US seems to be able to do so with little effort. In a video clip posted on YouTube which has, yes, gone viral around the globe, Alyssa is seen repeating backwards any word that’s thrown at her. You can see the video here.