Have you heard the saying ‘on a slow boat to China?’ It means something is taking a really long time. It could apply here, except that this pair is in Japan, so let’s call it ‘taking a slow walk in Ginza.’
Hisao Mitani 62, and Bon-chan 19, are familiar figures on the streets as they take their a walk two or three days in a week. What’s so unusual about this you might ask?
Well, Bon-chan is a huge African spurred tortoise who weighs around 154 pounds; and he is capable of stopping traffic, mostly for people to take a photo. Many residents in Tokyo say the pair walk from Ginza to Tsukishima, which is about one mile. Talk about patience!
Sometimes Bon-chan sports an outfit, befitting a grand tortoise in quirky Tokyo.
Hisao runs a local funeral home, and Bon-chan is a fixture at the funeral home, where he greets the families in mourning.
“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.
“I sort of knew he would become a good size tortoise but did not think he would be this big,” he said.
Mitani has picked up the nickname of kame sennin (immortal tortoise man), although Mitani feels he will be gone long before his gentle tortoise.
“I hear this kind of reptile lives for about 80 years, so it’s certain that I will go before him,” said the 62-year-old.