With the G8 summit happening in Hokkaido all journalistic eyes are on Japan. The news is a pretty depressing (or more so than usual) thing to read at the moment. The economy is in tatters, people are getting sacked left, right and centre and some poor teenager is being stabbed. So it’s nice every once in a while to come across something that brings a smile to your face and makes the world seem that little bit less insane. This BBC article I think highlights why i love superstition.
“A loss-making Japanese railway company is back on track thanks to the popularity of a stray cat.
Wearing a black cap and posing for photos with passengers, Tama is credited with boosting Wakayama Electric Railway’s revenue by 10%.
The firm had to axe all staff at Kishi station in western Japan two years ago.
But Tama stuck by her post and was rewarded with promotion to station manager. The pet mascot even has her own office, a former ticket booth.
The feline, who was born and raised at the station in the city of Kinokawa, Wakayama prefecture, is living proof of the Japanese belief that cats are good luck.
“She never complains, even though passengers touch her all over the place. She is an amazing cat. She has patience and charisma. She is the perfect station master,” said Yoshiko Yamaki, a spokeswoman for the rail company.
The nine-year-old – who receives cat food in lieu of a salary – won national stardom last year when the firm formally appointed her as “station master”.
Since then passengers have been gradually returning, recently rising 10% to about 2.1 million a year.
The cat has spawned a range of popular merchandise, including a picture book called: ‘Diary of Tama, the Station Master.’”
I think it’s great in this day and age that something as simple as a cat can help boost a failing business. I guess that goes to show the nuttiness of the Japanese people but it brought a smile to my face. To be fair it could be made into a pretty decent anime aswell. Following along the lines of Ghiblis film The Cat Returns.
While this post isn’t an essay or a huge thought provoking article (to be honest i’m ill and my brain has buggered off) it should atleast bring a smile to your face. Mind you, i have a sneaking suspicion that if this happened here the cat would have had to taken out a loan to get on the train, which would have been late anyway, only to be stabbed by a hoodie and having its cat food taken by the inheritance tax.
Courtesy BBC News – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7421259.stm