Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japan’s Pikachu Train Will Give Rides to Kids in Earthquake-Stricken Areas

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

In an effort to brighten up an area of Japan still recovering from disaster, a relief project is enlisting help from a colorful character. The JR East railway company is making over one of their trains in Pikachu-themed decor as part of the country’s Pokémon with You initiative, SoraNews24 reports.

After the Tōhoku region of Japan was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Pokemon with You formed to provide cheerful distractions to kids touched by the events. In 2012, the group partnered with JR East to debut a Pokemon train, and now the teams are collaborating once more to design a train solely dedicated to Pikachu.

Concept art [PDF] from the railway company shows a train painted in red, yellow, and brown to match the pattern of the Pokemon star. Inside, families can sit in yellow and brown seats studded with poké balls or enjoy themselves in the play area scattered with toy Pikachus.

The Pikachu train will run through the earthquake-stricken area along the Ofunato Line, with trips beginning July 15 and continuing through September.

[h/t SoraNews24]

Afternoon Map
The Literal Translation of Every Country's Name In One World Map

What's in a name? Some pretty illuminating insights into the history and culture of a place, it turns out. Credit Card Compare, an Australia-based website that offers its users assistance with choosing the credit card that's right for them, recently dug into the etymology of place names for a new blog post to create a world map that highlights the literal translation of the world's countries, including the United States of Amerigo (which one can only assume is a reference to Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who realized that North America was its own landmass).

"We live in a time of air travel and global exploration," the company writes in the blog. "We’re free to roam the planet and discover new countries and cultures. But how much do you know about the people who lived and explored these destinations in times past? Learning the etymology—the origin of words—of countries around the world offers us fascinating insight into the origins of some of our favorite travel destinations and the people who first lived there."

In other words: there's probably a lot you don't know about the world around you. But the above map (which is broken down into smaller bits below) should help.

For more detailed information on the background of each of these country names, click here. Happy travels!

Micah Bochart, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
The Loneliest Road in America Is This Arctic Supply Route in Alaska
Micah Bochart, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Micah Bochart, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Sick of traffic? Try heading for Alaska’s Dalton Highway, considered the least-traveled road in the United States, CityLab reports. The 414-mile highway, traversed largely by a handful of truckers and passing through only a few small towns, sees the fewest cars per year of any road in the U.S., according to America’s Quietest Routes, an interactive website made by Geotab, a company that helps optimize truck fleet routes.

To create the site, Geotab used data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System’s 2015 average traffic statistics. Though the Nevada stretch of U.S. 50 is sometimes called the “Loneliest Road in America,” the numbers show you’d be much lonelier driving down the Dalton Highway, also known as State Route 11. The route, which runs along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline north-south between Fairbanks and the remote Arctic town of Deadhorse, saw an average of 196 vehicles a day over the course of 2015—one for every two miles of road. Many of those vehicles are trucks carrying vital supplies to the oil fields of the Arctic.

The highway has been featured on the History Channel reality show Ice Road Truckers and is considered one of the most dangerous routes to drive in the world. There is a 240-mile stretch that features zero services, and it’s full of steep grades, avalanche-prone areas, and the slow-moving landslides known as frozen debris lobes. Despite the dangers, it’s a picturesque route, one with views that writers regularly call “Tolkienesque.”

One thing’s for sure—you probably don’t want to drive it on your own.

[h/t CityLab]


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