Japan provides its lonely men with plenty of way to find sweet respite from the emptiness and isolation of everyday life-provided you have the cash. And we're not just talking about prostitution: you can rent a girlfriend at Moé Date for day of "simulate romance" or find a cuddle partner at Soine-ya to help you rest easy at night.
But what about the ladies? Women get lonely too, so it seems unfair that such services would only be available to men.
Believe it or not, even before either of the above establishments were in business, there was Soine-ya Prime, a dispatch service where women can hire a handsome young man to lay with her in bed for a night.
While unrelated to the male-oriented Soine-ya in Akihabara-which, by the way, has been doing so well that they've recently opened up a second shop in Shinjuku- Soine-ya Prime also believes that there are just some nights when we crave the warmth of another human beside us to the point that we'd be willing to pay a complete stranger to do it.
Soine-ya Prime opened shop in 2011 and seems to be inspired by Shimshima, a television drama that aired the same year about a woman who has trouble sleeping after coming out of a divorce. The woman finds that just laying alongside a man at night enables her to sleep peacefully and she starts a soine-ya (lit: "sleep together shop") business that dispatches young men to sleep with lonely women.
The drama's catchphrase, "Sleeping with men makes women stronger", sent an empowering message to women across the country.
Soine-ya Prime acknowledges its roots with a link to the Shimshima website at the bottom of their homepage and asserts that, like the business in the drama, it does not offer any sexual services to clients.
So what can you do with the "cast", as they call their male employees. According to the site, you can:
- Sleep in his arms
- Go out for a date (all costs must be borne by the client)
- Have him clean for you (Simple cleaning tasks like vacuuming, etc., so long as it's nothing discomforting)
- Eat together at a restaurant (all costs must be borne by the client)
- Have him cook for you (ingredients must be prepared by the client)
And here's what clients are forbidden from doing:
- Touching his genitals or reaching under his clothes
- Taking a shower or bath together
- Kissing or other intimate contact not specified in the service outline
- Anything that would sexually arouse him
- Contacting him in private without the permission of Soine-ya Prime
- Hidden photography, wiretapping, etc.
They also add that they do not accept clients who use narcotics, have a dirty house, or are scouting for other establishments.
Pricing for the "Standard Plan", which covers all of the above services, starts at 30,000 yen (£260) for 7 hours. For a full 8 hours of rest you're looking at 33,000 yen (£300), and keeping your man for the maximum of 12 hours will put out 48,000 yen (£420). All sleeping must be done either at the client's house or a hotel.
There is also a "Date Plan", which includes a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort for 70,000 yen (£600, 2 tickets included). There is also the "Premium Date Course", where the client can specify an activity she would like to do, such as going to the beach or watching the sun set, and Soine-ya Prime will plan and prepare a dream date itinerary for a fee starting at 50,000 yen (£450).
In either case, your rent-a-boyfriend will come and pick you up by car at either your home or a prearranged meeting place. For all plans, it costs an extra 2000 yen (£16) to pick out which "cast member" you want to spend the night with.
Speaking of which, take a look at the hot young stud muffins on the menu (at the top of this page)
So ladies, whose arms would you like to fall asleep in tonight? [Soineya Prime]
This article originally appeared on RocketNews24, a Japanese based news blog.