Japan’s feel-good story of the year takes a depressing turn as the lone passenger who made headlines is harassed by camera-toting otaku.
One would like to think that, after reading the story of the rural train station that continues to operate just for the lone high school girl who regularly uses it, people around the world would smile contentedly and that would be the end of it. But sadly, it seems, we just can’t have nice things.
You see, in Japan, where there’s a unique train-related photo opportunity, there are hordes of ravenous toritetsu train otaku (people who are fanatical about taking photos of trains) who simply cannot resist the urge to capture the scene for themselves. These same fanatics have descended upon the station featured in so many articles and have become such a nuisance that the young passenger is—somewhat ironically—no longer able to use the station safely.
The train otaku reportedly flocked to Kyu-Shirataki Station to bear witness to the unique sight of the lone passenger, their zeal for capturing the perfect “train and passenger picture” seemingly knowing no bounds as they demand that the student let them take her photo, outright stalking her and her family in an effort to get their shot.
A local resident, who also blogs about trains under the name Mint Jam, has made an online plea for people to stop harassing the girl. The blogger wrote that these train otaku have forcefully asked the girl to pose in specific positions and places on the platform, and that this is causing her unnecessary distress at a time when she should be focused on her college entrance exams and her future.
It seems like such a simple request, and we hope that the train fans out there can demonstrate some much-needed restraint. This isn’t some model who is being paid to pose for your pictures, after all; she’s just a regular student trying to get to school on time.