Move right along with your business–there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on at the city hall.

For most of Japan, February 22 marks the annual celebration of Cat Day. For Koka City in Shiga Prefecture, however, the day marks something a little different–Ninja Day. Ironically, the reasoning behind February 22 for both of these celebrations is thanks to the exact same linguistic pun. “Ni” means “two” in Japanese, which is the same sound that begins both “ninja” and the written symbol for “nyan” (“meow” for Japanese cats). Therefore, “ni ni ni” (2/22) is the ultimate punny day to celebrate either ninja or cats.

But why is Ninja Day so important to Koka City in particular? It’s because the city is the historical stronghold of the Koka-style of ninjutsu (sometimes spelled Koga-style), which is the main rival school to the Iga-style of ninjutsu from Mie Prefecture. In fact, it’s not even the first time that Koka City’s municipal workers have cosplayed as their brethren from centuries past.

Take a glimpse into this year’s celebratory atmosphere inside Koka City’s Tourism Planning Promotional Department on February 22.

To bring about their transformation, 14 workers from the abovementioned department simultaneously made hand signs and chanted, “Nin nin nin!” at their desks around 8:30 a.m.

POOF! Transformation complete. These city workers weren’t simply fooling around, either, since they paid careful attention to fine details such as wearing masks with shuriken patterns. After all, one can’t be too conspicuous in the workplace.

They then proceeded to go about their jobs for the rest of the day exactly as usual, whether it was working at their desks…

…or interacting with the public at window stations. One of the workers commented that the ninja garb provided them with a boost to be extremely quick-witted and nimble at their work on that day.

In addition, 42 of the city’s preschools, elementary schools, and junior high schools also ate ninja-themed “kurokagemai” (“black shadow rice”) and clear soup with shuriken-shaped kamaboko fish cakes in their kyushoku school lunches. There’s been no word yet on whether any of the children escaped from afternoon classes through the windows after consuming such a menu.

As one final note, I have a small request for Koka City. How about just making February 22 “Ninja Cat Day” instead? I think plenty of people and felines alike could get behind that idea.

Source: Sankei News
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