OKAYAMA -- Okayama Electric Tramway Co. on March 22 introduced stop-request buttons on its cat-themed streetcars emitting the meow of a famous stationmaster cat.
The body of the streetcars had already featured images of Tama -- the famous feline master of a station along a train line of the Wakayama Electric Railway. Now, passengers who want to get off the streetcar may push a button with an image showing the face of Tama's successor Nitama, which then emits the pre-recorded sound of Nitama's meowing voice.
The initiative is the latest attempt to harness the power of kitties to help increase the popularity of trains -- and passengers have so far been delighted at the small feline voice that greets them when they push the button.
"We hope to capitalize on this unprecedented boom in cat popularity," noted an Okayama Electric Tramway representative.