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The Train Station That Stayed Open for One Schoolgirl Now Closed

One Japanese train station became trending on Chinese social media today. The Kyu-Shirataki Station, that stayed open so that one girl could go to school, will close for good on March 26.

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One Japanese train station became trending on Chinese social media today. The Kyu-Shirataki Station, that stayed open so that one girl could go to school, will close for good on March 26.

A train station in a remote area of Japan grabbed the imagination of Chinese netizens today.

The JR Kyu-Shirataki station in Hokkaido, Japan, stayed open all these years so that one girl could go to school. Daily Mail wrote about the station earlier this year, saying that the high school student Kana would take the train to go to school at 7.04 am and to go home at at 5.08 pm daily.

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Citylab writes that the passengers at Kyu-Shirataki station and its neighboring stations had dramatically fallen because of their remote location, which is why most services were ended. But since students depend on the train to go to school, parents asked that the rail company kept the station open for their children. For the past three years, Kana was the station’s only and last passenger.

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Now that the girl has graduated high school, the station, that has been open since 1947, will close for good on March 26, 2016.

The ‘one person train station’ (#一个人的车站#) became trending on Chinese social media the day before its closure.

Most of the comments on this news compare the situation in Japan to China, with netizens wondering how a similar story would work out in the PRC. “If this was China, people would say it’s a waste of energy and manpower,” one person comments. “If this was China, people would find out all about the girl’s family and accuse them of abusing public property,” another Weibo user writes.

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One netizen reminds people that China does have similar situations: “In the mountainous areas of China, we have schools with one student, yet those stories don’t seem to move you like this one,..” he writes.

“I don’t like Japan at all,” one commenter says: “But I can’t help but admire this service.”

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Insight

Pet Hotels are Booming Business in Beijing

Chinese pet lovers are willing to pay up to 900 RMB (±136$) per night to give their pet a comfortable stay at one of Beijing’s ‘pet hotels’ (宠物酒店).

Qing Yan

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The success of luxurious pet lodging in Beijing has become especially apparent over the past October holiday. Chinese animal lovers are willing to pay up to 900 RMB (±136$) per night to give their pet the time of their lives while they are out of town.

For loving pet owners, before heading out on a holiday, finding a trustworthy pet lodge is often just as important as finding a comfortable hotel for themselves. And nowadays, both should be booked as early as possible during a holiday season.

In Beijing, the booming business of pet lodging was especially noticeable during the Golden Week holiday. Various Chinese media reported that pet hotels in Beijing have become so popular that they were already fully booked a month before the holiday started.

This is also what Zhang Wen, a local pet lodge owner, told Beijing Youth Daily (@北京青年报). He and his colleagues are specialized in tending to every possible need of Beijing’s household pets while their families are taking a holiday.

Some pet hotels now charge as high as 900 RMB (±136$) per day to lodge a pet. The pet lodging business is quickly expanding across Beijing. Some local residents now also improvise lodging facilities in their private homes, asking approximately 30-50 RMB (±5-8$) per day.

With a growing demand for comfortable lodges for family pets, Beijing’s ‘pet hotels’ are increasingly competitive. Some offer private rooms for dogs and assign a member of staff for every pet to look after its diet, sanitation, cleaning, and exercise.

Some pet hotels are even equipped with sporting, beauty, bathing, and water purification facilities, resembling a five-star hotel. Non-traditional pets such as spiders and lizards are also welcome, as long as their owners clarify their routines in advance.

Criticism on luxurious pet hotels

On Weibo, the topic “Luxurious Pet Hotel Charges 900 RMB Per Day” (#豪华宠物酒店900一天#) received some 15 million views this October.

The news, which was first reported by Beijing Youth Daily, stirred discussions on social media. Although many people find the pet hotels cute or funny, there are also many who comment that this kind of extravagance for pets painfully points out the rich-poor divide in China.

“Dogs are living a better life than us humans now,” some said: “I can’t even stay at a hotel that is this expensive.”

One netizen sarcastically commented: “If you can’t afford housing in Beijing, just go and become a pet to someone here.”

Some even find the boom in luxurious pet hotels a worrying trend, saying “this will intensify the social conflicts.”

Besides the extravagant pet spoiling, there are also other reasons why netizens criticize the spread of fancy pet lodging. On social media, questions over epidemic issues are also surfacing.

Some companies that were interviewed by Chinese media failed to show any credentials for providing lodging services and had no in-house veterinary to offer health examinations for the pets taken in; China currently does not have a specific national legal framework nor corresponding regulatory measures for qualified pet lodgings.

By Qing Yan

Edited by Manya Koetse.
©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Local News

China’s ‘Wedding of the Year’ Is the Talk of the Day on Weibo

This rich second generation “fu’erdai” couple just celebrated China’s wedding of the year in Wenzhou.

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Although many still think of Angelababy and Huang Xiaoming when talking about ‘China’s biggest wedding’, this fu’erdai couple have just celebrated a wedding that is even more extravagant.

See our latest Weivlog on this Wenzhou wedding of the year, which became one of top trending topics on Weibo on October 11, here:

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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