A new bullet train line opened up in Japan recently that connects the whole island of Kyushu. When the line opened, there were huge celebrations all over the island, and there was even an award-winning commercial for the bullet train line. So if this was such a big deal, why have we not heard of it?
Kyushu is the southernmost of the four main Japanese islands, right below the main island of Honshu. This new bullet train (also known as shinkansen) line is the first one to ever connect the whole island north to south, and it’s kind of a big deal.
Why is this new bullet train line so important? It halves the time it used to take to travel Kyushu, it introduces an awesome new type of bullet train (the N700 series, for all you train nerds out there), and is one of the last steps in connecting all of Japan (excluding Okinawa) via bullet train from north to south.
But the bottom line is that you can now cruise from the top to the bottom of Kyushu in style and luxury at about 200 miles per hour in about the same time it takes to watch a movie. Pretty cool, huh?
Do The Wave!
There was even a commercial made for the new bullet train line. 30,000 people ran alongside the train doing what they called the world’s longest wave as it took its 150 mile maiden voyage. People cheered, dressed up, did flips, made signs, and most importantly, flew rainbow-colored banners all the way up and down the line. It’s like if a giant Nyan Cat ran alongside the train for an hour and a half.
Unfortunately, the bullet train line opened the same day as the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The commercial was pretty much immediately pulled after the disaster because it seemed in poor taste to have such a celebratory commercial when the country was suffering so much. Opening ceremonies for the line were delayed or cancelled.
A few months after the disaster though, the commercial won a Gold Prize at the international Cannes Lions festival (not to be confused with the Cannes that gives artsy films those palm awards). This new award made a lot of people see the commercial in a new light. Looking back an the commercial, it’s a nice sign of people coming together over something after the catastrophe.
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