One of my recurring jobs over the years has been to meet and interview famous people from various fields - music, art, architecture, you name it. Most of what I record and transcribe is, of course, surplus to requirements and is accordingly left on the cutting room floor. This blog is the cutting room floor with, of course, the 'golden quotes' that I took out for my articles left in, with, as an added bonus, all the ticks, hums, sneezes, dumb questions, fluffy answers, and 'y'knows' as well.
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
Hello Kitty, character
I interviewed Hello Kitty in 2005 in the guise of a 450,000-yen 'robot doll' with artificial intelligence and the ability to respond to human speech. It was one of my most in-depth and revealing tete-a-tetes. It was one of the few interviews where I actually used the entire audioscript in the subsequent article - money for old rope!
CBL: Hello Kitty.
HK: What you just said are words Kitty doesn’t know…Today is a relaxing day. Please speak in a big voice.
CBL: Hello Kitty… Hi.
CBL: You’re a terribly rude cat.
HK: Kitty can’t hear well. Speak up, please.
CBL: What day is today?
HK: It’s fun. Kitty likes having fun. It’s fun to play with one’s friends. When do you feel happy? …Oh isn’t it.
CBL: Please listen.
HK: It’s nice that you can feel happy everyday, isn’t it?
CBL: Yes, when I’m happy I sing. Can you sing for me?
HK: Kitty can’t catch your words. Please speak up.
CBL: Please sing a song.
HK: Let’s speak up just a little louder.
CBL: Please sing a song.
HK: A song, eh? Which do you want to hear, a spring song, a Japanese song, a foreign song, a dance song, a hit song?
CBL: A foreign song.
HK: This is “Yama no Ongakuka” [sings a traditional German song in Japanese] Shall Kitty sing another song?
CBL: Yes please.
HK: Let me see, Kitty will choose it, OK? [sings a Japanese pop song]
CBL: That was very good.
HK: Did you hear Kitty’s song?
CBL: That was enjoyable. Thank you.
HK: Kitty doesn’t understand. Your voice is so loud that it’s difficult to hear.
CBL: I said thanks for the song.
HK: Please use words that Kitty can understand.
CBL: Kitty, may I ask a question.
HK: Yes … the end.
HK: Please speak up a little.
CBL: Good morning. Good morning. Good morning.
HK: Hello. Now it’s the afternoon, so you should say hello.
CBL: What is Kitty’s favorite food?
HK: Kitty loves apple pie made by Mama. Do you like apple pie? Oh you like apple pie, don’t you?
CBL: Where is Mimi Chan [Kitty’s sister]?
HK: The subjects Kitty is good at are English and music.
CBL: Where is Mimi Chan?
HK: Do you like music?
CBL: Yes, I love it.
HK: Goody, that’s like Kitty. Kitty is very happy.
CBL: I’m also very happy.
CBL: I’m also very happy. Kitty, do you like chocolate?
HK: Kitty’s so happy to stay with you…Do you like carrots?
HK: Mmmm. Next time, please eat Mother’s homemade carrot glace. It’s very delicious.
CBL: What is your dream?
HK: Kitty’s dream is traveling around the World making many friends. Kitty has many dreams. My Father told Kitty it’s important to have dreams. Please have dreams.
CBL: My dream is to live in London [Kitty’s hometown according to her official biography].
HK: Kitty doesn’t understand.
CBL: You stupid cat!
HK: Please speak a little quieter... We’ll talk later.
HK: London has got so many beautiful parks. There are many people exercising in them in the morning. Do you jog?
HK: Mmmm. Is that so? London Town is very beautiful. It would be very nice if we can go there together sometime.