Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Cat Island of Japan

The Cat Island of Japan

Tashiro village known in Japan as 'Cat Island'. But now that most of the residents are elderly expect anything else the arrival of new residents. With about 100 residents, an average of over 70 years, Tashiro community expect the cat can be a magnet to attract tourists campaigns and ultimately increase the number of rural dwellers.

"If it's seen as so peaceful village. But if for instance there is a fire, no one could help us. I hope a lot of young people moving here. At Tashiro many people who want to teach them how to catch fish," said Yutaka Hama, 49, as head of the Tashiro tourism promotion agency.

Hama moved to Tashiro a few years ago and  now also making a living as a manager of an inn and fishermen. His wife, Aiko, is by far the youngest women in her village at the age of 37 years. Besides Aiko, most women Tashiro was aged over 60 years. Tashiro not inhabited by a single dog. In addition, the views commonly seen in modern cities in Japan are also absent. A course such as convenience stores, traffic lights to the children. Human population there has declined tenfold since 1960, as many residents moved to other cities.
But a few years ago, Tashiro became famous as the 'Cat Island'. At that time was made an event television station about Jack the Lop Ear, a male cat black and white stripes. Now Jack is the main attraction in the city. His movements are slow compared to other cats even make his popularity skyrocketed. "I'm so happy to see Jack. After retirement, I want to stay here alone," said Shiho Amano, 18, who likes cats. Amano specifically came from Nagoya to Tashiro to see photo exhibition held tourism promotion agency. His cell phone is full of pictures of the famous cat.

Jack was not the first cat to become a national idol in Japan. And also not the first that able to bring good luck to a locality. Last year a cat named Tama was appointed as a "leader" Kinokawa railway station in Wakayama prefecture. A station master hat was given to her. Tama presence of herding tourists had come to the small town.

Tashiro fishermen often give fish to the cat, cat to be easily detectable presence in the island area of ​​3.14 square kilometers and is located 20 kilometers from the port of Ishinomaki in northern Japan . Connecting ferry to the island is usually only carry 10-20 passengers per day after the summer. But since last September, that number has doubled in the week and more than three-fold by the weekends. 
"We see more and more that came with the camera and food, instead of a fishing pole," said an employee of the ferry Ajishima. He added that the tourists keep coming even though winter is near. - The Cat Island of Japan

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