Pet tortoise walks the streets and cheers grieving families

Sharing with you this video of a pet tortoise walking the streets of Tokyo with owner Hisao Mitani, an undertaker.

Bon-chan is the name of the meter- (3-feet-) long African spurred tortoise weighing 70 kilograms (150 pounds), who, with Mitani, are regular sight on the streets of Tokyo’s Tsukishima district.

“My wife just fell in love with him when she saw him at a pet shop, so she brought him home,” Mitani said.

“I sort of knew he would become a good size tortoise but did not think he would be this big.”

That was 20 years ago, when Bon-chan was small enough to fit into the palm of your hand.

Bon-chan lives in a pen at Mitani’s funeral home, where he greets callers.

“Some people may say it’s absurd to keep such a big tortoise at the entrance of a funeral service. But even in their time of sadness, people smile when they see him, so I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have him,” said the undertaker.

Tortoises are symbols of longevity in Japan, where local myth says they can live for 10,000 years.

For owning Bon-chan, Mitani has been called “kame sennin” (“immortal tortoise man”), but cheerfully admits that he is sure to go long before his pet goes.

An amazing duo, indeed!


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