Winter Break: Visiting Tama-chan, Train Station Master Extraordinaire

Whoops, I sort of had a creative writing spree this month and neglected this poor blog.  Let’s get back on track.

My last day trip during winter break involved going to Wakayama to check out Tama-chan and Wakayama Castle.  Who is Tama-chan, you say?  Well…

Tama-chan was a stray calico cat found by the Kishi Station stationmaster.  Adopting it, Tama-chan and him would hang around the station.  The station as well as the small train line that goes through it was in risk of being closed down due to lack of commuters.  Local people were worried as it was their only way of commuting.

In comes Tama-chan!

Tama was already popular by local people and so the stationmaster had the brilliant idea of making Tama the stationmaster.  Fast forward to today where hundreds of tourists visit Kishi Station just to see Tama-chan.  Tama’s presence rakes in millions of tourism money and thus saved the train line.  She is so popular that she now a special cat train and other cutely designed trains that go down through the line.  A few years ago she was officially promoted to the station’s train master by the train company.

The trains themselves are adorable.  There are 3 different types of trains: the Ichigo, Omocha and Tama train.  They each have their own gimmick, the Ichigo is strawberry themed while the Omocha has toys on display inside the train as well as being able to buy toys inside and the Tama train has a bunch of cartoonized pictures of Tama.  Oh and it also looks like a cat.

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When I went, the Ichigo train was out of service but I had the pleasure of taking the Omocha train.  When I finally got to Kishi Station I saw Tama in all her glory…taking a nap.  Tama is an old lady at this point, aging around 14-15 years so I suppose sleeping all day isn’t a new thing.

Kishi Station itself looks like a cat.

Kishi Station itself looks like a cat.

Zzz.

Zzz.

I checked out the Tama Gift shop, where tons of Tama merchandise is on sale.  It was very hard not to buy a ton of stuff but I managed to only buy a stamp and stickers for my schools.   On the way back I got off at another station and saw Niitama, Tama-chan’s protégé.  Niitama was also snoozing but I wasn’t offended, I know how cats operate.  I walked around the area for a little bit and headed back to Wakayama City.

When I arrived, I was sitting idly on a train, waiting for it to depart until I realized I didn’t have my camera on me. Running back to the Tama train line, I asked if they had it.  Luckily they did!  Oddly enough though, all of my pictures of my Tama-chan adventure had been deleted.  I’m not sure who deleted it but it sort of bummed me out.  Oh well, at least I took some pictures on my cell phone too.

By the time I got back to the other train, it had already gone and the next one wasn’t coming in an hour.  I was about to just walk to the castle from my current train station until I realized it was closed for the holidays.  In the end, it was probably a good thing that I had missed the train, otherwise I’d be stuck in that area with not much to do.

Visiting Tama-chan was a nice day trip.  It amazes me that one feline managed to do so much for so many people; I think she has a right to sleep in all day.

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