In Japan, you can rent a middle-aged man by the hour

In Japan, you can rent a middle-aged man by the hour

[Ed. – Apparently there’s a market for it.  Based on its description, this service seems reminiscent in some ways of Germany’s “Rent-a-Jew” enterprise.  It’s not about “intimate contact,” but about the middle-aged men sharing life experience and being sounding boards for people — or bringing cultural skills to situations, etc.]

It’s much better to pour your woes into a stranger’s ear, grab the good advice and run … or so goes the logic of Takanobu Nishimoto, 50, who founded an online Ossan Rental service in 2012.

Renting a stranger for advice and meeting in, say, a cafe means you will never have to meet again, he said: “Stories will spread if clients talk to someone they know.”

This is where men like Sasaki come in, lending an ear to strangers while renewing their own value in society.

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Nishimoto’s inspiration came when he overheard “high school girls making fun of middle-aged men on the commuter train,” particularly their hairy ears, and calling the men “smelly” and “dirty.”

Previously admired in a male-dominated Japanese society, ossan are now struggling to maintain a positive reputation in the fast-changing culture where values are in flux.

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