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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]

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This $20 Board Game From JetBlue Includes a Free Round-Trip Flight
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Still looking for a last-minute gift idea? Here’s an affordable item that everyone in your family will be fighting over: As Travel + Leisure reports, JetBlue is selling a $20 board game that includes complimentary round-trip airfare.

The object of the limited-edition game, called Get Packing!, is to fill up your board with personal belongings in preparation for your flight and prevent other players from doing the same. Sounds simple enough, but if you play the way JetBlue recommends, the gameplay will get competitive fast: The first person to fill their bag wins a certificate that can be redeemed for a real round-trip flight.

Winners have from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 to book their free trip. Destinations eligible for flights include domestic cities as well as ones abroad, like Quito, Ecuador and Lima, Peru. Taxes and other fees apply and travelers will still have to pay blackout rates on busy travel days.

After debuting the deal on Amazon on December 12, the product quickly sold out. Fortunately, a new batch will be made available on December 18 at 3 p.m.—just remember to act fast, as it’s likely to be a hot item on everyone’s wish list.

Board game from JetBlue.
JetBlue, Amazon

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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Meet Piper: The Border Collie Making a Michigan Airport Safer for Travelers
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Birds may look harmless on solid ground, but in the sky they pose a big threat to any aircraft crossing their path. The Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, uses a low-tech approach to the problem: a border collie named Piper.

Great Big Story profiled Piper and his handler, airport operations supervisor Brian Edwards, in a recent video. Piper’s job as the airport’s wildlife control canine is chasing away large birds that could strike incoming and outgoing planes, potentially causing anything from dents to engine failure. In Michigan, this usually means large waterfowl like ducks and geese, but it can also include crows, gulls, and snowy owls.

After he’s deployed from a moving car, Piper heads for the birds, scattering them away from the tarmac and teaching them to associate the area with predators. Piper is just doing what most border collies would do in the presence of a flock of birds, only in this case he gets to wear stylish protective goggles while following his instincts.

You can watch the full story below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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