Japan’s rail system is so easy to use, even this kitty commuter has no trouble with it.
Sort of like how living in certain zip or area codes has a special panache in some locales, in the Tokyo area train lines can acquire a sort of status based on the communities they run through. That said, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, which runs between Ikebukuro and Seibu Chichibu Stations, doesn’t have the most fashionable image.
Ikebukuro may still be in downtown Tokyo, but it’s not considered as chic or cool as the Shibuya, Roppongi, or Shinjuku neighborhoods. Chichibu is out in Saitama, which regularly gets saddled with the stigma as Japan’s dorkiest prefecture, and to top it off, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line isn’t operated by king-of-the-hill rail operator Japan Railway.
But if you’re writing the line off because of all that, you’re missing out on something that’s got animal lovers’ hearts all aflutter, which is that among the repeat passengers on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line is this adorable guy.
▼ “Looks like this cat is on his way home after a day of hanging out in ikebukuro.”
どうやら池袋で遊んだ帰り路の ネコらしいよ https://t.co/sgv8bvYzeZ—
【BENちゃん®】 (@manpukuoya) January 17, 2016
The above photo doesn’t show a one-way trip, either. Human passengers on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line have been occasionally noticing that they’re sharing the train with a kitty since at least 2013.
西武線に猫ナウ 箱座り、電車慣れしてる☻ http://t.co/osamTkDZuw—
kumikoy (@kumikoya2737) July 12, 2015
▼ Sometimes he’s even got a friend with him.
尾形誠 (@macop_fl) August 04, 2013
The various people seated next to the cat show that it’s not accompanying its owner on an excursion into the city, but that it is indeed hopping on the train somewhere along the line all on its own. It even seems to be learning the basics of train etiquette, as in recent photos it’s generally perched on the bench seat in a compact manner, leaving room for others who want to sit down.
iro (@irohamu) March 12, 2016
This being Japan, though, sometimes its drowsiness gets the better of it and it unconsciously stretches out a bit during a mid-ride nap.
hama_bot (@hmmtkntr) August 24, 2014
However, while Japan loves cats, it also loves cleanliness. Pets generally have to be placed in animal carriers before boarding trains, since cute as they may be, passengers with allergies, or simply clothing they want to keep looking presentable, don’t want them moving about the carriage and shedding on the seats. For the time being, though, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line seems to be turning a blind eye to this feline rider of the rails.
▼ Maybe he’s slipping them a bribe when he goes through the gates.
けいもんど@悪魔城HD (@fu_matu) August 30, 2013