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Motto Henna Eki


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Only remotely Nihongo-related, but interesting for both, linguists as well as train aficionados:

Strange station names.

Now, Shozawa shows us the shortest station name in Japan, namely Tsu in the midwestern part of the country. Not to be overtaken by Ao, a two-syllable name of another station not far away from it, some people of this three-letter city would even shorten it to "Z," instead of Tsu.

Perhaps those Z-supporters of Tsu are aware of similar instances elsewhere. For example, Hook gives two, a lake in Nebraska called L and a gulch in Colorado called T, each named after its shape.

Kowada - Owada

Another novelty in Japan is a lonely train stop called Kowada situated on a steep mountainside in midwest Japan. It is empty most of the time and serves just one farm house inaccessible by any other means of surface traffic. The train barely negotiates the zigzag trail every two or three hours a day. But Kowada was quite crowded for a while in June 1993, when Masako Owada was married to Prince Naruhito and many Japanese travelers turned up to take a look at a remote hilltop station whose name was identical with the maiden name of their beloved new princess. The three Chinese characters for Owada and Kowada are identical, though not in sound. Express trains, which usually skipped Kowada, had to stop there and JR (Japan Railway) staff members had to be on temporary duty there just to sell admission tickets! Certainly, this was also an indication of the high esteem in which the imperial household is held among the people of Japan.


Another rare name of a railway station in Japan is the so-called Koyukan-Shin-Eki-Eki in Shimane Prefecture in west Japan. Literally, this would mean the New-Koyukan-Station-Station, "eki" meaning a station. The original station area was expanded with a new shopping center, which the residents knowingly decided to call by this strange name in the interest of novelty.

=> KoreaHerald

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