Japanese people must really love cats. First they appoint a cartoon cat as tourism ambassador (Click Permalink for full article) and now this. Tama, a nine-year old stray cat has been promoted to 'Super' stationmaster at the Kishi Railway Station in the Japanese City of Kinokawa.
Tama, who grew up at the station also has her own office (an empty ticket booth) and two deputies cats that report to her!
It all began about two years ago when Wakayama Electric Railway Company, the owner of the train station, had to let all the employees working there go, because very few people took the train from that station.
Tama, however refused to leave and was rewarded with a promotion to stationmaster. As news of the appointment spread, curious tourists started to trickle in to see her. Over the last two years, Tama's popularity had resulted in over 200,000 people coming to the station annually, earning the kitty-cat not only a well-deserved promotion, but also a full-time keeper to look after her.
Tama starts her day with a big stretch and then dons her stationmaster's hat to get ready for the morning commuter rush. After that, she settles back to entertain the hordes of tourists who come just to see her. She sometimes even gives interviews or is invited as guest of honor to local events. Tama performs all her duties without a complaining meow.
She makes a great stationmaster and is the perfect epitome of good customer service, allowing her admirers to take pictures with her, pet her and even carry her around! And if she really takes a fancy to them, she will cross her front paws so that the patterns on her fur form a heart shape - something the Japanese people consider good luck.
Just like Hello Kitty, Tama has a number of products like erasers, postcards, notebooks and pins with her photo on them, sold at the station shop. A $14 U.S. Dollar book of photos, entitled 'Diary of Tama', is one of the hottest selling items.
While the video below is in Japanese, it is quite apparent what a celebrity Tama the stray cat, has become in Japan.
Sources: Japan Probe, Telegraph.Co, BBCNews.