Nehime and Rakan, aged seven and three months respectively, started “working” on the Hojo-cho line after they were formally appointed stationmasters and “special city residents” by the local mayor.
The monkeys wear blue uniforms made from traditional local fabrics complete with mini hats, and belong to a local resident who offered the “special services” as a way to generate business.
Although it is the first time monkeys have been employed in such capacity, other animals have had the same honor and fare quite well as stationmasters.
Consider Tama, the calico cat, who is well known in Japan as a stationmaster in good standing of Kishi station in Wakayama prefecture. Her feline charm has brought thousands of tourists flocking to the western city of Kinokawa.
It’s worth the trip to watch this adorable cat patrol the station bearing the official uniform of her office; namely, a Wakayama Electric Railway cap.
According to a recent study, Tama’s presence drew more than 55,000 additional people to the Kishigawa Line than would normally have been expected, and her annual contribution to the local economy was calculated to have reached as much as US $10 million.
The Hojo-cho railway line is already known for the fact that it is the very first in Japan to run a bio-diesel fuel train. Now another “first” has taken hold with little expenditure, save the cost of a few bananas and a daily flea check every morning before reporting for duty.
Is monkey business profitable business?
Time, bananas and flea checks will tell.
In the meantime….all aboard!
source :: http://www.weirdasianews.com