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The vast train network that criss-crosses subterranean Tokyo can be a confusing and intimidating place for the uninitiated. Dreary, utilitarian stations drone and chime with a stream of announcements, seemingly ignored by the mass of humanity that spills onto platforms or crams improbably into carriages. It may not be pretty, but in a city where millions of commuters travel by train daily, it boasts the precision of a finely-crafted Swiss watch, keeping Tokyo moving -- even if it means pushing hundreds of people into a single carriage at rush hour.


 
 
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Local governments and businesses in western Japan will launch special sales events in the Kansai region this autumn and winter to attract foreign tourists, especially from China, by promoting shopping attractions in the region, organizers said. The campaign is aimed at reviving travel to the region by foreign tourists, whose numbers nose-dived in the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami and ensuing nuclear plant disaster in northeastern Japan.

 
 
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Tokyo Metro and the Tokyo metropolitan government inked a deal with UQ Communications to install WiMAX infrastructure and facilities to provide coverage in Tokyo’s subway system. Financial details were not released at this time. UQ Communications will pay for the cost to install the new communication services, which is planned to operate at both train stations and in moving trains.


 
 
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East Japan Railway Co. started operations of a hybrid passenger train with an electric motor and diesel engine Saturday in Nagano Prefecture, the first of its kind designated for tourists. The Resort View Furusato train will run between the city of Nagano and Minami-Otari stations once a day until Dec. 26. All 78 seats of the two cars are occupied by passengers, JR East said. The train features large windows so that passengers can enjoy the scenic views, and the front carriage is an observation car.


 
 
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Some hotels around the world try to lure you in with perks such as free Internet, free continental breakfast or free night stays for repeat customers. One hotel in Japan though, tries to appeal to unique customers by offering something you won't find in most hotel rooms anywhere. That is a model train.


 
 
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Keihin Electric Express Railway Co. has introduced a "Smile Scan" system to evaluate the grins of its station staff. The smile-measuring software has been developed by Kyoto-based precision equipment maker Omron Corp. The device analyzes the facial characteristics of a person, including eye movements, lip curves and wrinkles, and rates a smile on a scale between 0 and 100 percent using a camera and computer.


 
 
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At stations in the center of town, many people come and go. Can't this enormous amount of transfer energy be used to generate electricity? This simply idea led Japanese researchers to  actually start testing the amount of energy that can be generated by sound waves and vibration on the floor. The East Japan Railway Company thus aims to develop more environmentally friendly train stations as part of the electricity used by customers now gets produced by customers.


 
 
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Sometimes what happens in Japan stays in Japan, and the “capsule hotel” phenomenon is a prime example. Unlike, say, sushi or the Honda Civic, this is one Japanese invention that hasn’t triggered a stampede of foreign adopters and imitators. Indeed, in such a compact and crowded country as Japan, stacking up Salarymen in this way is one of few practical options, but for other countries with more space it is just causing curiosity.