Is there anything more heartwarming than an unlikely cross-species friendship? We’ve seen dogs and cheetahs, baby Nigerian dwarf goats and sweaters, and dogs and robots, and now there’s another adorable one to add to the list: a scuba diver and a fish (via Twisted Sifter).
One day about 25 years ago, Japenese scuba diver Hiroyuki Arakawa was in the depths of Hasama Underwater Park in Tateyama, Japan when he spotted Yoriko, an Asian sheepshead wrasse that looked like it was hurt. So he started taking care of the fish by feeding it crabs and nursing it back to health. 25 years later, they’ve seen each other virtually every day and they’ve forged a pretty special bond.
“I’d say we understand each other,” Arakawa said. “Not that we can talk to each other, but it just happened naturally. I kissed her once, but I’m the only person she will let do it.”
Arawaka is 79 years old, and he’s been scuba diving for the past 60 years. He explained the beginning of his relationship with Yoriko:
“We decided to build a shrine gateway [underwater]. The shrine’s gate is at a depth of 65 feet. Yoriko lives by the shrine’s gate. I think it was around 30 years ago that I first met Yoriko. […] One day, she was by the shrine’s gate, exhausted. She couldn’t catch her own food. I fed her about five [crabs] every day for about ten days. She’s a lot better now.
I think anyone can get an animal’s attention by feeding them. But to touch or interact with them is harder to accomplish. I’m not sure if it’s the nature of the kobudai or not, but it’s probably because there is a sense of trust between us. I guess she knows that I saved her, that I helped her when she was badly injured. So for me to be able to do that, I have an amazing sense of accomplishment in my heart.
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Featured image: Great Big Story/YouTube