Pregnant woman wants seat on Tokyo metro: there’s an app for that

Pregnant women struggling to bag a seat on the famously packed Tokyo subway could find their salvation in a new app. (Shutterstock)
Updated 12 December 2017
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Pregnant woman wants seat on Tokyo metro: there’s an app for that

TOKYO: Pregnant women struggling to bag a seat on the famously packed Tokyo subway could find their salvation in a new app connecting them with nearby passengers willing to give up their coveted perch.
The digital match-making app being trialled this week on the metro aims to overcome two problems especially prevalent in Japan: passengers generally have their nose buried in their phones and talking is strictly frowned upon.
The service allows a pregnant woman to send a message when she wants a seat.
The app will then look for generous pre-registered users who have said they are willing to give up their seats.
If there is a match, the pregnant woman gets a seat map on her smartphone screen showing her partner’s location.
The exchange can be made without giving personal information to each other.
Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) has been testing the service this week on one of the key subway lines in conjunction with Tokyo Metro and the Line messaging app company.
“This may be particular to Japan but some people hesitate to speak to a person who may need a seat,” said a spokeswoman for DNP, a printing and IT group.
“Many people are also looking at smartphone screens and do not always realize quickly that someone in need is standing nearby,” said the official, who declined to be named.
“We try to take advantage of the situation.”
It is yet to be decided when the service will be rolled out but the companies also hope to expand assistance to elderly and disabled people.
Japan has one of the world’s lowest birth rates and authorities are trying out several policies to encourage people to have more children.
Public officials distribute a round pink “Maternity Mark” tag to pregnant women to encourage people around them to be considerate before they start showing.
Some woman however hesitate to display the tag out of fear that they could be perceived as overly insistent on their rights or insensitive toward people on fertility treatment.


House of Khan: Pakistani finds fame as ‘Game of Thrones’ doppelganger

Updated 22 March 2019
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House of Khan: Pakistani finds fame as ‘Game of Thrones’ doppelganger

  • The 25-year-old so resembles actor Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister in TV hit ‘Game of Thrones’
  • Not only are Khan and Dinklage’s faces strikingly similar, they are also the same height

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Pakistani waiter Rozi Khan had never heard of the Game of Thrones — or its hugely popular character Tyrion Lannister — until his striking resemblance to the dwarf anti-hero got heads turning at home.
The 25-year-old so resembles actor Peter Dinklage — who has played the witty and wily nobleman since the hit series’ first season in 2010 — that he gets regularly stopped by strangers desperate for a picture.
“I don’t mind. A lot of my pictures have been taken, that’s why I have become very famous everywhere,” he said.
Not only are Khan and Dinklage’s faces strikingly similar, they are also the same height at around 135 cms (4 ft 5in).
Photographs of the pair have unsurprisingly made their way onto social media showing the doppelgangers side-by-side.
“Wherever I go, someone says to me: ‘Sir, who is this man with you on Facebook’, I say that he is my friend. ‘He looks like you’. I tell them he is my brother. It’s not a bad thing,” said Khan.

Khan and Dinklage. (AFP)


The television series has won 47 Emmys — more than any other fictional show in history — along with a Golden Globe for Dinklage, 49, for best supporting actor in 2012.
A much anticipated final series is set to premiere on April 17.
Khan works at a small Kashmiri restaurant down a narrow line in Rawalpindi, serving customers hearty dishes such as mutton and spinach curries.
Owner Malik Aslam Pervez described him as a hard-worker — and also a drawcard for the eatery.
“When he takes a day off or gets sick, people look for him and ask where did he go? They get upset. They love him. There is always a crowd here but it has boomed because of him,” he said.
Born in Mansehra in northern Pakistan, Khan says he would love to meet Dinklage, describing him as a friend and brother.
“I love him very much, he is my friend... he is my height so I like him a lot,” said Khan.
For customers, seeing Tyrion Lannister in the flesh is also a thrill.
“When I saw him, I’m happy, I feel that I met with Lannister in real [life],” said Zain Hadri, 20.
“Game of Thrones” tells the story of noble families vying for control of the Iron Throne, all the while keeping one eye on the “White Walkers” leading hordes of the undead toward an invasion from the North.