The Aomori Shrine Where "Umineko" Soar
Each spring, about 30,000 black-tailed gulls flock to a nesting site around a shrine in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture. The gulls, which are called umineko or "sea cats" because of their cat-like cries, form an impressive site as they soar through the sky. Among visitors to the shrine were an American woman living in Aomori and her visiting family; an elderly man who enjoys chatting to the birds; and locals fond of these feathered harbingers of spring. For 3 days, we asked people what the umineko mean to them.