The movie Office Space popularized the phrase ‘Case of the Mondays.’ Most of the time that phrase holds true. Today in Japan, however, is far from another boring Monday. For many, it is the best day of the year because it combines two things the Japanese love: cats and ninjas.
For the last thirty years, February 22 has been elevated as a chance for all cat lovers to let their feline flag fly. Today is the perfect opportunity for Japanese women to wear the ever-popular cat-themed lingerie that stores can barely keep in stock. Indeed, a number of cat-themed celebrations are not only acceptable today, but actively encouraged. National Cat Day developed because of today’s numerals, 2/22. In Japanese, the number two is pronounced ni, so today’s date is pronounced ni ni ni. This sounds relatively close to the sound a cat makes, which is nyan nyan nyan (meow, meow, meow).
So how does one celebrate National Cat Day? Well, the options are numerous ever since the Executive Cat Day Committee declared today as a national holiday. The first thing you should do is prank your cat. Second, you must share photos of yourself pranking your cat on social media, along with random pictures of cats. Sometimes these cat images are of a pet, sometimes they’re famous, like Tama the stationmaster cat, or, not surprisingly, even Hello Kitty. There is also the opportunity to dress up like a cat, which cosplay enthusiasts are more than happy to do.
Having exhausted themselves from tweeting pictures of cats and dressing up like them, people can then turn to another way to celebrate National Cat Day. Many restaurants, bars, and cafes, not just the cat cafes, have special cat-themed menu items. These range from rice balls shaped like cat heads, to donuts frosted to look likes cats, and even cat strawberry short cakes. Some stores, such as Kaldi Coffee Farm, have special coffee blends and merchandise which are only sold today. Even Japan’s version of Barbie, Licca-chan, has a special Cat Day doll.
If you aren’t a fan of cats, or maybe you just find ninjas to be cooler, fear not. Although there isn’t a national ninja council, certain parts of Japan do honor the black-clad warriors today. Whereas the ni pronunciation of 2/22 can sound like a cat meow, it is also the first two letters of the word ninja. While that may seem like a bit of a stretch, the cities of Iga and Koka are happy to embrace the connection. The two cities, located in the Mie Prefecture and Shiga Prefecture, respectively, have some of the highest populations of ninjas in history.
Throughout these cities, banners can be found advertising today’s holiday. If you need a more detailed view of the celebration, the best place to be is city hall. There, all office employees dress up like ninjas and make paper throwing stars, which they release on anyone who dares disturb them at work. Japan seems to be doing something right with two awesome holidays in one.