Why "yamaneko"?

On the southern Japanese island Iriomote, there lives a cat species called iriomote yamaneko. This particular type of cat is nocturnal, and is rarely seen, even by people living on the island. When a yamaneko is spotted, it often turns out to be a noraneko (stray cat) instead of a genuine yamaneko (mountain cat). Even so, the one paved road on the island sports many many signs telling the tourists to beware of yamaneko dashing across the road. There are far more such warning signs than there are actual yamaneko.

Given all this, we decided to adopt the iriomote yamaneko as the mascot for our lab.kira.org group. Our attempts at exploring reality are likely to turn up results that span the range from `genuine' to `stray', and we warn the reader: tobidashi chuui (beware of dashing across (the reader's) path), which is the text written in Japanese on the road signs that you see depicted on this page, and that are ubiquitous in Iriomote.

So: Reader Beware!

For more information about iriomote yamaneko click here, here and here

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