KOBE -- A local taxi adorned with about 1,000 colorful cellphone straps is proving popular with passengers.
"Oka-chan," the 66-year-old driver of the private taxi, mainly operates in Kobe's Chuo Ward. He started decorating the interior of his car with the straps when he began his private taxi business 14 years ago to amuse passengers with children. Oka-chan bought various straps of popular animation characters and cute animals, which he hung from hooks attached to the ceiling and other parts of his vehicle.
"I never had much conversation with passengers before I decorated the interior. Now they easily talk to me regardless of their age," said Oka-chan. He said that many adults express nostalgia over straps featuring animation characters that were popular back when he first started his business.
Oka-chan usually drives from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., being careful not to overwork himself out of consideration for his age. "I want to keep seeing passengers smiling at least until I reach 70," he offered.