In what seems like a page taken right out of a fairytale, a story has emerged from Japan with photographic evidence of a heartwarming friendship between a diver and a fish.
Tateyama Bay, in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture is the rendezvous location of two unlikely friends – local diver Hiroyuki Arakawa and an Asian Sheepshead Wrasse which is affectionately named Yuriko, a feminine name which means lily child or village of birth. The mismatched duo met 25 years ago, it was love at first sight, and they have been meeting each other on a regular basis ever since.
Arakawa has been looking after an underwater Shinto shrine located in Tateyama Bay for over a quarter of a century, also acting as a guide for tourist who want to visit it. During that time, he has become unusually close with a giant friendly fish who comes to greet him whenever he calls.
All he has to do to summon Yuriko is by knocking with a hammer on a piece of metal – and the fish shows up. They've been firm friends for 25 years now.
Hiroyuki, who runs a local diving shop, has been documenting his friendship with the Asian Sheepshead Wrasse on Facebook. Yuriko shows up in nearly every photo taken near the Shinto shrine in the diver’s care, and sometimes even poses for the camera. Their relationship has become a tourist attraction in itself, with people asking for diving sessions just to see the two unlikely friends bonding and playing.
People think that while fish are great pets to keep for its therapeutic qualities and aesthetic pleasure, they assume that fish are dumb, mindless creatures hardwired by nature to go about the cycle of life. But Hiroyuki and Yuriko would beg to differ.