Hello Kitty is popular with small kids - and the occasional college-age girl - but who knew the Japanese character could make a good introduction to Japanese culture that appeals to all ages?
What's more, there are solid explanations of nuanced parts of Japanese culture - even Buddhist funerals!
The book is bilingual, with writing in English and Japanese, which makes for good cross-cultural sharing across small kids. It also makes for good fodder for Japanese-English conversation partners.
Quoth Japan Subculture, which reviewed the book:
This book is not childish at all, read it and you will learn much about Japan and its people, children, youth, adults and elderly people. And there are absolutely no pictures of green tea KitKats or high-tech toilets. We expected this book to be awful—it turns out to be awfully entertaining.
You can grab a copy at Japan's domestic airports - except Narita, sadly.
via Japan Subculture
Need more Japan books?
Check out the Japan Books section of the Konnichiwhoa Mini-Shop. You'll find books on Japanese design, decoration, history and even crime.