January 17, 2008

Japanese students receive sand as good luck charm for exam

What will the Japanese come out next in order to pass their university entrance exam?.

(Mainichi) KUMA, Kumamoto -- A station here has started handing out free good-luck charms in the form of skid-resistant sand in the hope that students won't slip up in their university entrance exams.

The sand is being handed out free of charge at Isshochi Station on the JR Hisatsu Line in Kuma until March 14, during a period when many students sit university entrance exams.

The station's name uses the characters for "victory" and "ground." Station officials are hoping to make money by marketing sets of the sand and platform admission tickets to sports athletes and students taking exams, promoting them with the phrase, "Set your feet on the ground and start off with a victory." Perhaps due to the sand, admission tickets are selling at about double last year's rate.

Good luck sand is available at stations across Japan, but Isshochi Station appears keen to emerge as the most profitable provider.

"Doubled up with platform admission tickets, our profits will take the top spot in Japan," a station official said. "We encourage comedians to try out (the sand) too so they don't slip up."

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