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Japan city hopes to play Cupid with visitors by using Valentine's-themed station signs

The special sign at Usuki Station, with Cupid ready to fire his arrow at a heart, is seen at JR Usuki Station, Usuki, Oita Prefecture, on Jan. 30, 2020. (Mainichi/Tatsuo Eto)

USUKI, Oita -- As part of the "Usuki Project," an initiative to boost the profile of this southwestern Japan city, signs at two local stations have been given a temporary Valentine's Day themed makeover.

One design at Usuki Station was first tested in 2019 with cooperation from the Japan Railways Group, replaces the "suki" part of the area's name with a heart, in a reference to the Japanese word for love or like, which is also "suki." On its left side, it is decorated with an image of Cupid carrying a bow and arrow. Neighboring Kamiusuki Station has also had the Valentine's treatment in a similar way.

The signs will stay in their current form until Feb. 17. From the next day Cupid's arrow will pierce the heart in celebration of White Day, the March 14 event in which people who have received chocolate on Feb. 14 are expected to give something back to their admirers. That design will stay up until March 23.

A head at the city government's hospitality and tourism division said, "We'd like this to lead to better awareness about the city of Osuki."

(Japanese original by Tatsuo Eto, Nabari Bureau)

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