Recession Be Damned—Japanese Still Renting Pets, People

Just because times are tough in Japan doesn’t mean the Japanese will stop having a good time. It also doesn’t mean they have to be bored and lonely.

BBC: It costs about £8 ($10) an hour to spend time in a Cat Cafe.

(Cat Cafes are exactly what they sound like that. You go to a cafe and hang out with cats.)

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.

First you pay a deposit and a hire fee. Then you are issued with a leash, some tissues and a plastic bag and given some advice on how to handle your new friend.

Pets aren’t the only things up for rent. If you need a new friend, relative or…something else, those rental services exist too.

One specialist agency is known as Hagemashi Tai, which translates as I Want To Cheer Up Limited. It rents relatives.

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.

Now that would be a plot line that even the denizens of Wisteria Lane would have trouble believing.

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