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Anyone travelling in Japan will have come across these colourful, eye-catching mascots. For decades, they have been central to Japan’s steadily growing pop culture. Anime- and manga-style mascots, which also serve to represent rail operators, tourist attractions and cities, are part of everyday life. Local tourism organisations often leverage the popularity of these cartoon characters. Backed by the right strategy, the mini ambassadors are an influential communication tool in social media.
The Rhaetian Railway became aware of this trend on the heels of the successful Japanese cooperative cultural event in Davos, and is now set to be the first European rail operator to formally adopt this advertising medium. A variety of activities will be raising awareness of this intercultural highlight amongst the travelling public. The deployment of a Japanese railway mascot represents a milestone for Swiss tourism. Something that is part of everyday life in the Land of the Rising Sun can now be witnessed in the Swiss Alps.
«Allegra! Welcome to the Rhaetian Railway website. I’m so pleased you want to know more about me. My name is Nozomi. It means «bearer of hope» in Japanese. It’s a lovely meaning, don’t you think? Japan Railways (JR) uses it for a famous high-speed train link.
I moved to St. Moritz in April 2017 after successfully completing my studies. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamt of living in the Swiss Alps and pursuing a wide-ranging career in tourism. As luck would have it, my move coincided with the Rhaetian Railway advertising for a train guard with a flair for languages for the Bernina Express. That, for me, was the perfect way to embark on a career, as it allowed me to gain familiarity with the Graubünden region.
As Switzerland’s very first Japanese train guard, I’m really happy to be in a position to help establish an even closer relationship between the two countries. I’m very grateful to the Rhaetian Railway for welcoming me so warmly.
When not on duty, I can be found in the ticket hall of St. Moritz railway station. I look forward to your visit!»
Follow Nozomi’s movements on Twittter. #スイス鉄道キャラ
Our railway mascot Nozomi is also available as a fantastic keyring. Nozomi is looking forward to travelling with you!