Saturday, 13 June 2015

Bon-chan the Tortoise

Credit: Barcroft TV

You can practically walk any kind of pets these days, and people putting a leash on cats or walking their tortoise on the Sheung Wan end of the Victoria Harbour don’t faze me anymore. But an old man walking his tortoise, while carrying along a bag that is made out of the same fabric used to make the tortoise’s clothing, surely is a duo that garners attention.

Sixty-two-year-old director of a Japanese funeral business Mitani Hisao first spotted the tortoise when it was still its five-centimetre self at a pet shop in Tokyo. Childless, Mitani and his wife fell in love with the tortoise, and soon made it their new family member – they decided to call the tortoise ‘Bon-chan’. Never did the couple think Bon-chan would grow into a creature whose shell measures two foot five inches, but that didn’t stop the couple from loving Bon-chan. In fact, Mitani considers Bon-chan his son and calls him exactly so. The duo can be seen taking a two-hour walk two to three times a week, attracting attention with their matching outfit: Bon-chan’s clothes and the bag in which Mitani carries some carrots, bok choi, and a bottle of water to wash off Bon-chan’s pee.

According to Mitani, Bon-chan is a good listener and his confidant, who would come over at the call of his name. “Bon-chan knows the route and is very head-strong, so all I do is to follow. If a cute girl comes along, Bon-chan would start following her though,” said Mitani. Apparently, Bon-chan is very helpful at Mitani’s workplace too. “I run a funeral business and people who come to me are usually sad, but they would always smile whenever they see Bon-chan. I’m very proud of the positive influence my son has on people.”

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