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This Train Station is Kept Open for Just One Passenger

The Japanese railways are courteous to turtles, deer, and humans alike, so it's no surprise that an entire station has been kept open for a single passenger.

The remote Kami-Shirataki station—located in Engaru, Hokkaido, Japan—has been slowly losing riders. In fact, the demand was so low that even freight service was ended. Japan Railways planned to close the entire station for good—until they discovered the last consistent passenger: A single high schooler who continued to use the train to get to class every day.

Three years ago, the railway system decided to keep the station open until the student graduated school. The accommodating network even changed the train schedule to better fit the girl's commute. Now, the train makes only two trips: One to bring the girl to class and one to bring her back home. This service will continue until her graduation in March of this year.

While this heart-warming story showcases Japan Railways' dedication to service, it is also a reminder of the decline of railways in rural Japan. The country is expected to lose a third of their population by 2060, meaning a shrinking workforce and an increase in empty housing. This, coupled with Japan's new efficient high-speed rails, spells the end of traditional railroads in the country. Hokkaido has seen the closing of 20 rail lines in the last few decades, Fortune reports, with another closing when the student graduates in March.

[h/t: CityLab]

Header image via iStock.

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© 2017 USPS
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Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

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Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at Lenstore.co.uk have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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