The First Cat Station Master in Japan

cat wearing a hat

In 2007, a stray calico cat named Tama was made station master of Kishi station in Wakayama after financial problems forced all staff on the line to be eliminated. Their goal was for her to boost ridership on the line and promote tourism. Today, the station has been renovated to look like a cat, there is a cafe and gift shop themed around Tama, and three trains decorated with images of cats. So we can safely say mission accomplished.

Traditonal Japanese Beekeeping

There has been beekeeping in Japan for over a 1000 years. The honey of the Japanese honey bee is harvested by capturing wild swarms and housing them in a constructed log or pile box hive. Japanese honey bees produce less honey than Western honey bees but they make up for it in by being expert pollinators and by being more hardy towards diseases, the cold, and predators.

Kochi Prefecture, the Chicken Kingdom

Kochi prefecture is located on the island of Shikoku and is known for many things such as its friendly locals, Sake, and Kastuo Tatataki(lightly broiled Skipjack Tuna). From the title, you shouldn`t be surprised to hear me say it is also famous for its breeds of chickens. There are 38 heritage breeds chickens in Japan and 8 of them come from Kochi Prefecture. Kochi not only has a large number of varieties but they are unique in their abilities, appearance, and even taste.

The Only Horseshoe Crab Museum in the World!

In Kasaoka city in Okayama prefecture, you can visit the only Horseshoe Crab Museum in the world! Go way off the typical tourist map and see a strange and one of a kind museum devoted to an animal that could only get a prize in a beauty contest if it was playing a game of Monopoly.

How to Eat in Japan

You may think how can eating be different in Japan, doesn't everyone eat? Food is one of the major ways, culture can be expressed in countries around the world. Things like history, religion, and the availability of foodstuffs affect what people eat. Buddhism in Japan led to a 1, 200-year government ban on meat consumption with fish being the major exception. Buddhism believes humans can be reincarnated into animals and shuns the killing of any life. There was also a practical reason for the ban, Japan is a mountainous country and there is very little land available for agriculture. Livestock farming is not only labor-intensive but takes up valuable land space. Fish and rice were a better source of protein. White rice is a major staple of Japanese cuisine, usually accompany a meal. Miso soup is also a common sight at dinner tables. Nowadays, there is a large increase in meat consumption with pork and chicken being the most popular. Bread is also more widely eaten in modern times. But seafood and rice are still a standard part of Japanese cuisine. Religion and cultural factors in Japan not just impacted what people but how people eat. Many modern taboos and customs regarding food can be traced back to Buddhism and the ”the customer is god" attitude in Japan. The Japanese proverb " The customer is god" is related to the Japanese concept of "Omotenashi", which means to show good hospitality and look after your guests. You can see "Omotenashi" in the excellent service you will receive at restaurants.