Monday, January 12, 2009

Markets In Everything: Japan Rent-A-Companion

From the BBC, Rent-A-Pet:
It costs about £8 ($10) an hour to spend time in a Cat Cafe.

If felines do not appeal, other establishments will rent you a rabbit, a ferret or even a beetle. There are more than 150 companies in Tokyo which are licensed to hire out animals of various kinds and although beetles may be cheap, dogs much more popular.
Rent-A-Friend (the signs of a maturing Geisha market I suppose):
Very popular at the moment is the Campus Cafe, where men go to socialise with female university students. It is cheaper than the upscale hostess clubs in which businessmen and politicians drink whisky with women in kimonos, although that is a business which is in crisis because of the recession.
Rent-A-Family Member:
Actors are despatched to play the part of distant relations at weddings and funerals. For an extra fee, they will even give a speech.

But the firm's services do not stop there. It can also provide temporary husbands to single mothers who want them.

The website says the "dad" will help the children with their homework. He will sort out problems with the neighbours.

He will take the kids to a barbeque or to a park. He could also appear at the daunting interview with a nursery school head teacher which parents are required to endure in order to persuade the principal to give their child a good start in life.
I wish the writer of the Japanese story had included more price data. Also in the news, a San Diego woman auctions off her virginity, with current bids at $3.7 mill. She recognizes it is a positive sum game, so the college education she is paying off with the money was well used:
"I think me and the person I do it with will both profit greatly from the deal," Dylan told the paper.


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