Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Rent an Uncle

Credit: RocketNews24

Japan is a country of intrigue and umpteen possibilities. I thought I’d seen it all upon knowing that you can actually rent a pet in Japan, and now the country surprises me with something even more puzzling: apparently you can rent a middle-aged man, colloquially called ‘ossan’, and it’s legit.

Nishimoto Takanobu is a 47-year-old fashion producer and stylist. When the girl sitting next to him on a train was once evidently grossed out by his ‘ossan-ness’, Nishimoto decided that instead of moaning, he should embrace this special quality in him. And so he started the Ossan Rental service, where you get to rent an ossan for JPN1,000 (approximately HKD64) per hour. The rationale of the service is patrons will be able to gain sagely wisdom over a cuppa with the ossan. Take Nishimoto himself, for instance. He has worked in Japan and the United States, from department store salons to major stylist company, and he has spent a short spell as an agony aunt. Quite a lot of stuff to learn from, no?

According to RocketNews 24, while Nishimoto was mostly rented to hang out with clients at a café or bar, drinking or getting life advice, there wasn’t a dearth of unusual requests either, such as visiting sick people in the hospital, announcing one woman’s marriage to her family after her father passed away, and many more. But with his ‘no touching’ policy, Nishimoto at least makes it clear that he and his business isn’t up to something fishy.

Think this business is daft? Well, Nishimoto has been rented out by 1,502 since the company’s establishment in 2012 – not bad, we’d say. And the good news is, the rental business has just hired two more ossans, handpicked by Nishimoto himself out of over 100 applicants! 

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