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The vehicle was spotted travelling at speed and showed no signs of slowing down.
You can see a lot of weird things on Japanese highways. Take that time, for instance, when a giant mecha made its way down the road, or when the chicken ramen mascot appeared. Or, as our latest example, when the figure of a young woman was spotted clinging to the back of a bus.
That’s exactly what Twitter user @OsakaPuchiko saw recently when he was driving on the Hanshin Expressway in the Kansai area. After he caught sight of the bus up ahead, he immediately put a call in to the local police to help prevent a dangerous accident from occurring.
However, after viewing the footage afterwards, he realised he may have acted a bit too quickly.
Take a look at the video below to see what happened:
🍺常日頃泥酔🍶 (@OsakaPuchiko) February 12, 2020
As the video shows, a figure can be seen on the back of a bus travelling at speed on a highway. When @OsakaPuchiko’s car gets closer to the bus, it looks like the figure is actually a young woman with short hair, dressed in a shirt and skirt, with black tights and red heels.
As the gap between the two vehicles closes in, it starts to look as if the woman might be trying to use a hand to rouse attention from the people inside the bus. Either way, she looks like she’s doing a good job of clinging to the back…until we get an even closer view that shows her palms are actually lying flat on the back of the window, gripping onto nothing.
Could this be a spectre with supernatural powers? Or maybe it’s Sandra Bullock filming a death-defying stunt for a follow-up to her 1994 film Speed with Keanu Reeves?
▼ No, none of that — it’s a mannequin.
That’s right, this “woman” is actually a mannequin that’s been attached to the back of the bus to get attention. And attention is certainly what it got, as the story was quickly picked up by morning TV shows in Japan, who revealed that the bus is actually owned by a small commercial complex called Sanda M-Class Garden.
Located in Hyogo Prefecture’s Sanda City, Sanda M-Class Garden is known for displaying a variety of unusual sculptures on its grounds. In keeping with this objet d’art theme, the shuttle service run by the complex features an eye-catching female figurine attached to the back.
▼ And apparently she changes outfits too
あかるい🎴 (@akaruichin) February 13, 2020
The sight of her from the back might be enough to put anyone on edge, but seeing her front-on from inside the bus is twice as frightening.
広島フレディ (@f_yusuke_666) February 13, 2020
While the shuttle bus is a stroke of marketing genius for M-Class Garden, some people online weren’t too happy about having their nerves put through the wringer with the highway video.
“They should make this type of thing illegal before it causes an accident.”
“I was on edge right up until the moment I saw the side-view at the end.”
“Omg I totally thought this was a real person when I watched the video!”
“I would’ve called the police too if I’d seen this.”
“Ban it! This would totally interfere with the concentration of other drivers on the road.”
According to @OsakaPuchiko, the bus doesn’t appear to be breaking any road rules and it looks like it’s passed vehicle inspections for roadworthiness despite having a realistic-looking mannequin permanently attached to its back. He also said he didn’t harbour any ill feelings towards the company operating the vehicle, instead saying he felt bad for calling the police before he was fully aware of what was happening.
With everyone breathing a sigh of relief that this didn’t turn out to be a life-threatening situation, this is now going straight on our list of unusual Japanese buses, alongside the one dedicated to Your Name and the hotel-like overnight bus that comes with single-person cabins.