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Cat-faced pizza oven made of typhoon debris hoped to bring visitors to Japan town

A pizza oven built from debris from October 2019's Typhoon Hagibis, is seen in Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, in this recent photo. (Mainichi/Daisuke Wada)

MARUMORI, Miyagi -- October 2019's Typhoon Hagibis hit many parts of Japan hard, including this town in northeastern Japan. And one nonprofit organization here looked at the debris created by that destructive storm and apparently decided it would make a good pizza oven -- in the shape of a cat.

    Completed in August this year, the oven was built by the nonprofit organization "Abukuma no satoyama wo mamoru-kai" (Abukuma woodland settlement protection society) in a valley in Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, from earth and stone from landslides triggered by Hagibis. The exterior is lined with colorful pieces of pottery and bottles also broken when the typhoon hit, and arranged to resemble the head of a cat.

    Marumori was once a sericulture center, and felines were apparently revered as "cat gods" for keeping mice away. Even today, there are stone monuments dedicated to cats in several spots around town.

    The nonprofit organization has dubbed their pizza oven "Lord Cat Oven," and hopes people will come to the valley to make pizza, participate in farming experience programs, learn the town's history and help restore the forest community.

    (Japanese original by Daisuke Wada, Sendai Bureau)

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