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The Happy Neko

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I'm lazy so I'm posting this from Wiki despite the fact that I wrote (and later rewrote a lot of this entry) This is the story of Tama-Chan, Super Station Master of the Wakayama Electric Railway, where my friend Yumiko lives. She sorta turned me of to this neat little private railways and it's interesting little mascot a few years ago..

 

Tama (たま, Tama? born April 29, 1999) is a calico cat who is the station master at Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.

 

In April 2006 the Wakayama Electric Railway converted all stations on the Kishigawa Line from manned to unmanned in an effort to cut costs. Station masters were selected from employees of local businesses near each station. For Kinokawa railway station, Toshiko Koyama, the neighborhood grocer, was selected as station master. Koyama had adopted Tama and other stray cats, and he fed them at the station

 

In January 2007, railway officials decided to officially name Tama the station master. As station master her primary duty is to greet passengers. The position comes with a stationmaster's hat; in lieu of a salary, the railway provides Tama with free cat food.

 

The publicity from Tama's appointment led to an increase in ridership by 17% for that month as compared to January 2006; ridership statistics for March 2007 showed a 10% increase over the previous financial year. A study has estimated that the publicity surrounding Tama's has contributed 1.1 billion Yen to the local economy. In January 2008, Tama was promoted to "super station master" in a ceremony attended by the president of the company and the mayor; as a result of her promotion, she is "the only female in a managerial position" in the company. Her new position has an "office" — a converted ticket booth containing a litter box.

 

Her staff consists of two feline assistant stationmasters, Chibi (ちび, Chibi? born May 12, 2000) and an orange tabby cat named Miiko (ミーコ, Miiko? born October 3, 1998). Tama is set to appear in a documentary about cats by Italian filmmaker Myriam Tonelotto.

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Bernard

There is a similar story about a cat named Dewey that lived in Iibrary in Iowa, USA. He help increase readership.

 

Tama is something, I know not one of our cats would let you put a hat on their heads.

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Guest ___

There is a similar story about a cat named Dewey that lived in Iibrary in Iowa, USA. He help increase readership.

 

Tama is something, I know not one of our cats would let you put a hat on their heads.

 

I'm aamzed too by the fact that the hat stays on her head.

 

My 08 trip to Japan involves visiting Tama. My friend lives in Wakayama which makes it convenient.

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Guest ___

There is a similar story about a cat named Dewey that lived in Iibrary in Iowa, USA. He help increase readership.

 

Tama is something, I know not one of our cats would let you put a hat on their heads.

 

I'm aamzed too by the fact that the hat stays on her head.

 

My 08 trip to Japan involves visiting Tama. My friend lives in Wakayama which makes it convenient.

 

No one loves ya but me Tama :p

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Bernard

Over Christmas my wife tried putting a "Santa" cap on 2 of our cats. I'd post a photo but it only stayed on their heads for 3 seconds and we're out of bandaides

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Guest ___

My cat's the same way she hates wearing hats.  I'm thinking of going to see Tama-chan on the next trip to Japan.

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Guest ___

NEed to start finding a way to plan my trip to visit Tama ^_^

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scott

That's a weird coincidence--I just tripped over this same story last night through Flickr. I don't get the idea of trying to put clothes on cats, but my son liked seeing the cats in their booth and the decorated train. Miiko looks a lot like his cat Sandy.

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Guest ___

A very close friend of mine is from Wakayama so I've been trying to get her to send me a Tama photo book on her next trip back home. The history of Tama is rather fascinating.

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Guest ___

Yeah, I know it's an old post, but I thought I'd update this post anyway. Since the last post was made, I managed to buy two of the Tama-Neko photobooks from Amazon Jp at a cost of about ¥1100 each, with a ¥4500 shipping. (damn you FedEX) A third book has been released that I plan to pick up in two weeks when I go to Kishi Station.

 

 

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Bernard

Purrfect timing!

In Vancouver at the Team Ski Jumping competition, we were next to a Japanese TV crew. One of our camera assistants (sunglasses) and myself (tall one - one of my cameramen is in the background) were talking about Tama-Neko the station master cat and she didn't know about it nor did the rest of her crew.

We showed her a photo of Neko on a blackberry, to prove that we weren't making it up. It became a running joke all day with everybody. I even suggested Tama-Neko take up Ski Jumping and they could film it.

It wasn't until the event was over that she stood up to do a report on camera, it was then that we realized that she was the "on-the-air" talent for NHK TV.  :confused3:

post-22-13569924207136_thumb.jpg

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CaptOblivious

(Bernard, this is the first photo of you I think we've seen! I think I'm gonna start a thread…)

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Bernard

(Bernard, this is the first photo of you I think we've seen! I think I'm gonna start a thread…)

Don....remember, I'm not the one in the middle!

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disturbman

(Bernard, this is the first photo of you I think we've seen! I think I'm gonna start a thread…)

Don....remember, I'm not the one in the middle!

 

That's so tragic!  :sad:

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Guest ___

Tama didn't look too happy when I met her this past Tuesday,

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to2leo

Tama didn't look too happy when I met her this past Tuesday,

 

Yikes, I hope she didn't scratch you and give you the diva look.

 

I think she is just in a bad mood.

 

@Bernard I am surprised, maybe NHK thinks Neko is not important enough.

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Guest ___

I was actually quite disappointed with the visit. They had the cat enshrined in a cat carrier, with thick bars covered with a thick PVC sheet. You could not even see the cat. It could have been a stuffed animal in the for all I could tell. It took a bit of work just to get the old man manning the store to move the PVC just to see that there was a cat in the carrier. It left the impression that the tourism was thrust upon them but they really do not like it.

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Bernard

 

@Bernard I am surprised, maybe NHK thinks Neko is not important enough.

Leo - The NHK crew was based out of Tokyo and I think it's a lot like living in your native country and taking things for granted. There are things tourist go to visit and/or find information about that we never look up. When friends or family come to NYC, there are things they want to see that I never knew existed in the city. For example at one time there was a movie theater that played silent films with a person playing the original piano score set to the film. My out of town friends knew about it but I didn't. I think the Neko situation might be similar.

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Guest ___

The NHK did a big report on Tama the night before I went to Ksihi, and when I was at Kishi a camera crew for MBS showed up. I suspect they had already taken Tama out when they were there and hence why I had so much trouble just getting to see the cat.

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