Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Japanese 'rent men' who are paid just to listen"

Yahoo News:  "For me, the service is a hobby more than anything," says Nishimoto, who first came up with the concept four years ago and who now has a growing network of some 60 men across Japan.

"The initial idea was to improve the image of guys my age, people who might not be spring chickens anymore and not taken so seriously."

"The people who rent me are just asking me to keep them company for an hour or two, mainly to listen to them," he tells AFP between sessions, giving the example of a woman in her 80s who would book him every week for a walk around the local park.

"I almost became like her son," he says.

[T]he people who come to Nishimoto do not suffer from detachment from society or challenges adjusting to it.

Rather, those who use the service say it allows them to forget the expectations of their family and friends and speak freely -- an option which experts say is especially useful in Japan, where social roles can be tightly defined and expectations rigid.

"There's a different 'me' depending on whether I'm with my friends, my family, or my boyfriend," says 24-year-old Nodoka Hyodo after her session with Nishimoto.

She explains: "I create a 'me' in relation to others. Here, all that disappears because I'm talking to someone I don't know -- thanks to him, I feel like I'm understanding myself better."


edutcher said...

Second husbands, for when the wife says, "You never listen to a word I say".

Lem said...

The married Nishimoto says he has considered stopping the service several times, but found that he needed his clients just as much as they needed him.

"I never know exactly what they're going to ask for when they rent me, and of course that's a bit scary, but it's also why it's so interesting. Honestly, I've never had problems with any weird clients... I've had plenty of emotional experiences."

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Didn't AA get one of those?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ ed

The joke in our house is that when I remark something, or speculate that I might want to get something done (like mow the front acreage or wouldn't it be nice if we could put a retaining wall over there) Dumbplumber just says "Yeth Dear...cupcake...swweeeeetie" in a lisping fake beta male voice. Ha ha ...very funny :-) My stock response to his conversations is "Of course, darlin'" Then we both do a little you don't have to call me darlin, darlin' song riff.

After 20+ years of marriage, we have our comedy routine down pretty good.

ndspinelli said...

My dear mother was a talker. I mean Hall of Fame talker. Like my old man, I'm a listener. Now, part of being a good listener is to know how to mute the mundane, and unmute when something pertinent is said. I always mute commercials when watching TV, except for the Super Bowl. Once, on a nice summer afternoon, my mother, my bride, and myself, were sitting on the deck. My bride had to go to the store. She returned a solid hour later. My mother talked the entire time and I did not say a word. Much was about a sibling who died recently. Some nods, some laughs[she was funny], some facial expressions, was all she needed from me. I can't get into the listening zone if someone has an agitating voice[Greta Van Susteren for example]. Or, if I really don't like the person I just walk away.

Trooper York said...

Japanese people are very strange. At least their culture is very different. I had some experience with them in wholesaling clothing and there is a bunch of rituals you need to go through this in dealing with them.

Dad Bones said...

I can think of a few women who would get their money's worth out of a hired listener though most of them seem able to find guys who will do it for free.