Sit on a big fabric doll with arms to wrap around you
Loneliness is increasing in Japan. By 2020, according to NLI Research Institute, living alone will be the norm in the country. So a visit to Japan can reveal some eccentric solutions to improve the lifestyle of the lonely.
The Japanese love hugs, or at least the idea of hugs. The new “tranquillity chair,” or “anti-loneliness hugging chair,” in the shape of a big fabric doll has long arms to wrap around you. Anti-loneliness cafés are also becoming popular, where big stuffed animals sit with you while you eat.
For something more human, you can rent a friend – a companion to join you for meals and activities (not sexual ones) from around $30 per hour.
To feel the pleasure of a cat purring in your lap, there are already more than 150 in Japan and 39 cat cafés in Tokyo alone. And bunny-hug cafés have been popping up in Japan since 2011, where you can pay 600 yen (€4) for 30 minutes of sitting with a bunny on your lap while enjoying your coffee.
If you need a stronger drink, visit one of 200 tiny bars in the labyrinth of lanes of Golden Gai, Most can only take five people at a time, making them an intimate setting perfect for solo travellers after a nightcap and someone to talk to.
[pictured: A cat café in Japan; photo courtesy CatCafesd.com]