Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Subway worker’s ticket chad masterpiece goes viral"

From The Japan Times, 11/13/15.

Japan’s rail service, known for its punctuality and reliability, has not only been appealing to rail fans but is also the subject of great pride among its employees — so much so that one of them has created an artwork depicting a train with 153,600 fragments from passenger tickets.

The piece was created by a 46-year-old employee of the Osaka Municipal Subway who declined to be named. It shows a New 20 series unit, a rapid train operated by the company, and is now on display in an underground passageway of Nishi-Umeda Station, close to the city’s largest commercial center.

The train has been precisely depicted in black and white shades by using both sides of the waste fragments, which are generated from ticket punching machines installed near the platform gates. Each one was painstakingly pasted on using a pair of tweezers.

The employee thought it would be an appropriate way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the station, said an Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau spokesman on behalf of the employee, who has worked there for 30 years.

The work drew a lot of attention online after a university student from Kyoto uploaded a photograph of the piece to his Twitter account on Tuesday.

The post was believed to have been retweeted more than 30,000 times within the first 24 hours. As of Friday, it had been retweeted by more than 40,000 users, prompting passers-by to start sharing photographs of the piece over the Internet.

The employee also gained acclaim for what he wrote beside the artwork — that he spent some 300 hours between June and September creating it at the station office after work.

According to the spokesman, since early childhood the employee has been very interested in art and often produced drawings or tried his hand at other forms of detailed work, such as building plastic models.

“I would not be able to produce such a work of art,” the spokesman said, praising it as an effective means of attracting commuters to the work of the rail staff.

But the employee said he had to sacrifice his private life to complete it, and in the end the project turned out to be stressful.

“I won’t do it again,” the author wrote.

But according to the spokesman, the artist is delighted his work has gained so much attention and is thinking about producing another one — but not for public viewing.


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