On My Radar: Would you Rent a Friend?

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IMG_1488I recently came across an incredibly interesting and deeply moving article about a service in Japan where clients can quite literally rent a friend.

Unlike prostitutes and escort services, these “friends” do not preform sexual or even romantic acts. Instead, they’re shopping buddies, dinner companions, and most importantly, a friendly face who will listen to deeply repressed woes.

The article, written by Chris Collin, does a fantastic job of explaining¬†gaman, which is an unspoken rule in Japan that implies that you just have to deal with whatever comes your way no matter how difficult it may be. Don’t complain, and don’t expect sympathy.

Not surprisingly, this incredibly tough, stoic mentality has lead to a growing number of mental health issues in the country and ¬†it seems that in a culture where people can’t talk about their feelings, worries, or fears, rent-a-friend services like the one featured in this article, are actually doing a lot of good. Continue reading