tama

Not only is April 29 Showa Day and a national holiday, it’s also the birthday of none other than Ultra Station Master Tama, the adorable feline in charge of Kishi Station in Wakayama Prefecture.

Tama was born in 1999, making this her sweet sixteenth bithday. She’s had a pretty good career for someone who hasn’t even finished high school yet!

[tweet https://twitter.com/kazuhi_asaduki/status/593301334624866305 align=center]

Ultra Station Master Tama, who has held her post for eight years, turned 16 years old today, making her one of the youngest stationmasters in Japan.

▼ Here’s Stationmaster Tama eyeing her birthday cake.

[tweet https://twitter.com/NakagawaNeco/status/593370936218226689 align=center]

The calico feline has been, over her life, a major draw for tourists from around the country and overseas. Tama’s birthday festivities today saw a crowd of around 300 people–not bad for a station that was nearly shut down at one point!

In fact, Tama could be considered a local hero, as she’s helped revitalize the area through tourism. She’s even got her own train!

▼ Check out the Tama-densha (Tama Train) in the video below.

As you may have noticed, there are two cats in the video–the first one that appears is actually Super Station Master Nitama, the cat in “training” to be Tama’s eventual replacement. Eagle-eyed viewers might have also noticed that the train refers to Tama as “Super Station Master,” which was her original title. She got a promotion after Nitama was “hired.”

In addition to Nitama, there’s also a mascot version of Tama, so fans can meet the adorable cat anywhere in the world, as she’s too old to go on long-distance trips. According to Wakayama Dentetsu, the train company, Tama’s 16 years would be roughly equivalent to 80 years for a human.

▼ Kind of creepy. Kind of cute. Just how we like it!

[tweet https://twitter.com/tukipalace/status/567573987379511296 align=center]

There’s even Aflac commercial starring Stationmaster Tama!

For a video of the festivities, head over to NHK’s website. And if you happen to have some free time over Golden Week next week and you want to see Tama for yourself, be sure to check out her schedule. The cat will be “working” from 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Friday at Kishi Station next week.

Sources: Nekomemo, NHK, Wakayama Dentetsu
Images: Twitter (@ekichoTAMA)