So she rented Japan’s “do-nothing guy.”
Their near-silent lunch lasted about 45 minutes. Shirai ordered her favorite dish and intermittently asked questions. She shared memories of her marriage and showed him a photo from the wedding. He nodded and gave curt answers, sometimes a dry laugh. He never initiated conversation.
It was exactly what Shirai wanted.
“I felt like I was with someone but at the same time felt like I wasn’t, since he existed in a way where I didn’t have to be attentive of his needs or think about him,” said Shirai, 27. “I felt no awkwardness or pressure to speak. It may have been the first time I’ve eaten in complete silence.”
A handful of other “rental” people have similar shticks, like a guy who gets hired to be treated to meals and a self-professed “ugly” guy who claims to boost others’ self-esteem. But Morimoto has cornered his niche market of doing nothing for cash, and many people now hire him for the novelty.
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