Saturday, March 19, 2011

CAT ISLAND

In Japan there is this place called Tashirojima (田代島) which means "Cat Island" in English.  The reason it is called this is because (1) it is an island, and (2) there are a whole bunch of cats there.  In fact, there are only about 100 people living on Cat Island, but there are lots more cats than that.  I could not find anyplace that said exactly how many cats live on the island, so maybe nobody has ever counted them.  But somebody has counted the people and also asked how old they are, because it turns out that all of the people on Cat Island are pretty old, like over 60.  Well, except for one person who is 37 or so.




Tashirojima is located near Ishinomaki City, in Miyagi Prefecture.  Here are a couple of maps, in case your Japanese geography isn't so good.  The island is about 8 square miles in size, and you can get there by going on a ferry boat.  And in case you are worried about what happened to all the cats and people on the island during the earthquake, you can relax, because they are okay.  The only problem is that they need food and other supplies, just like lots of other people do who were near the earthquake.  At first, some people tried to get to Cat Island by boat to bring supplies, but there was too much debris and stuff in the water, so the boat couldn't get through.  Then the last news I saw was that an Army helicopter was going there to take food for the people, and maybe also cat food.






Anyway, now I will tell you how this island got to be an island full of cats.  A long time ago, people who lived on the island used to raise silkworms so they could make silk.  But mice would eat the silkworms, and the islanders kept cats to eat the mice.  
Also there were fishermen who came to the island, and they sometimes stayed overnight at the inns there.  The cats would come and beg for scraps, so the fishermen fed them, because everyone believed that feeding cats would bring good luck.  So the fishermen got very fond of the cats, and they thought that if they watched what the cats were doing, it would tell them what kind of weather was going to happen, and when the most fish would be around.  One time a cat got killed by accident while the fishermen were getting ready to go fishing, and they felt very bad about this.  So they buried the cat and built a shrine on the spot.




Anyway, now that all the people of Cat Island are getting older, they are trying to attract tourists to the island and also some younger people to live there.  A lot of people like to go there just to see all the cats and to get their pictures taken with them.  And they like to see the shrine and the houses that are shaped like cats.  




In the shops, you can buy a maneki neko, which is a cat with one paw raised, and this will bring you good luck.  Another thing you can buy is a good luck kitty bib to take home and put on your own cat.




So after everything gets all cleaned up and rebuilt from the earthquake, maybe you will want to go to Japan for a vacation.  And if you do, you can visit Cat Island.  I'd like to go myself, but for some reason, they do not allow dogs there!



6 comments:

  1. WHOA...finally! I already sent my original comment to your mom's e-mail address. Please tell your mom it occurred to me that I have not been able to post a comment since upgrading to IE9! I haven't been happy w/IE since I updated. Soooo...I uninstalled IE9; and once again the world is good! :)
    Love, AP

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  2. AHA! So that was the problem! My mom uses Safari because we have a Mac, which is not the same thing as a Big Mac, which you can get at MacDonald's and then actually eat it!

    Anyway, I read your other comment in the email that Di sent to us. Aunt Patty, I think if you go visit Cat Island, you should for sure take Di along with you. Maybe Mom can go, too, and she can take Chloe. Charlie is too scared of everything to like traveling very much, and also he is very heavy to carry around, even though he has lost a bunch of weight!
    Love, Piper

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  3. Dear Piper,
    I felt bad for the cat who died in the accident- but what kind of accident was it? Also if there is a whole island of cats, is there a DOG island? Now THAT would be the AWESOMEST thing of all, wouldn't it? By the way- I guess the old people in cat island must LOVE cats enough to stay there! Also if dogs do have an island, I think it should be called something really nice!
    Love,
    Tas, ur number one fan! ☺

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  4. Dear Tas,
    The fishermen used these kinds of nets that had rocks in them to hold them in place, and while they were gathering rocks, one rock fell on a cat by accident, so that's what happened.

    I think that it would be a fine idea to have a DOG island, and I even Googled it to see if there was one, and it turns out there was some hoax thing that was going around for a while about a dog island, but it wasn't true. However, there is an island near the coast of Florida that is called Dog Island. I don't think it is called that because a bunch of dogs live there, though.

    If you want to start a Dog Island, maybe Mom will let me come and live there. I think it would be fun!

    Love, Piper

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