Deliberate dating

“We once had one guy who’d held these feelings for a woman inside himself for six years. He’d finally built up the guts to confess his love, but wanted us to check her out first just in case she rejected him.”

Kimiko Yoshii on the more extreme kind of client catered for by the Tokyo-based Onayami Kaiketsu Tanteidan confession service.

Despite the likes of email and instant messaging allowing amorous admirers to approach the object of their desires without the risk of a frosty face-to-face rejection, many Japanese men it seems are still very reluctant to reveal their feelings for fear of somehow fluffing their lines or being flatly turned down. A situation that is apparently ideal for the Onayami Kaiketsu Tanteidan confession service, as for a fee – dependent on the service required – all the hard work can be taken care of by a total stranger, allowing the worrying wooer to simply waltz up at the end and claim his prize; or alternatively silently skulk away if the feelings aren’t reciprocal.

japanese dating service

According to consultant Kimiko Yoshii, “about 70 percent of customers are men in their 30s who’ve had serious feelings for a woman for a long time.” Yet although a service to simply pass on the message to the lady in question is very cheap, many requests require elaborate preparations that can cost anything upwards of 100,000 yen (448 pound).

Simply opting for the tried and trusted ‘my mate fancies you’ method, or instead organising a coincidental coming together however would appear to be way too simple, with a system almost akin to stalking being the desired technique. “First we find the target, where she lives, what kind of guys she likes, that sort of stuff. If we approach her immediately, she’d probably be more shocked than anything else, so we pretend to be carrying out street interviews for market research and approach her that way, finding out her private details at the same time.”

And if such clandestine considerations weren’t enough, Yoshii-san also adds that, “once she gets to know the service member’s face, we can then introduce discussion about the client, saying things like how he had remarked on her being ‘cute.’ There’s not a woman in the world who’d object to being cute. If mentioning that he fancies her comes up in the course of some girl talk, she’s not likely to suspect anything.”

Despite this method being about as direct as the men it is serving, a time is eventually arranged for the client to meet the love of his life and set about awkwardly articulating his feelings. Then, once the cat is finally out of the bag, it’s simply a case of the staffer discreetly riding off into the distance.

“It’d be a bit weird if somebody who’s been claiming to be the client’s friend suddenly disappeared out of his life soon after setting up an introduction with a new partner. The staff member will suddenly announce over the phone or by e-mail that she’s got an impending marriage or move and ease out of the new couple’s life that way.”

All quite simple really.

Oversized organ

In a bid to attract more visitors, the newly opened LaLaport shopping complex in Toyosu, Tokyo, has opted for a decidedly unorthodox approach – the display of an obscenely large organ.

Yet perhaps surprisingly (or not as the case may be), this novel idea would appear to be a hit, with passing office worker Kaori Gotou gasping, “I’ve never seen one anywhere near as big as that before!” The 24-year-old further adding, “I’d love to take it home with me and attempt get to grips with it, but to be honest, I think I’d struggle to fit it in.”

Similarly impressed was part-time dental assistant Mayumi Watanabe, who cheekily chirped, “I’d be happy to wake up to a whopper like that every morning.”

Comments that are sure to please the complex’s owner, especially after all the trouble and expense of importing the 19th Century pipe organ in question all the way from England.

huge organ

Cruise control

A good all-rounder with plenty of space for passengers, but especially efficient in heavy rain.

toyota noah ad

Apparently.

toyota noah

However it’s only available as a 2-wheel drive. 4 x 4 is simply not an option.

(click image for larger laughably poor language pun)

Tokyo tact

The sentiments behind this suburban Tokyo record shop are laudable to say the least.

be nice records

Yet as if to prove that such cordiality has no place in today’s callous and cutthroat commercial world,

be nice shop

the store has long since closed down.

Fashion frivolity

Despite not being as significant as the highly respected ‘Best Jeanist’ awards, the ‘Best Leathernist’ competition is nevertheless not to be, erm, sniffed at.

Amazingly celebrating its sixth year in existence, the event’s organiser was delighted to announce Eriko Sato as the 2006 leather-clad champion; the 24-year-old actress taking over from the previous winner, Anna Tsuchiya.

Now quite what constitutes a good ‘leathernist’ apart from the wearing of animal skin isn’t exactly clear, but after extensive research it appears that Sato-san’s shiny black boots may well have clinched the deal.

eriko sato

With the addition of this rather cheeky little number doing her bid no harm whatsoever.

sato eriko

Admittedly none of which may actually be made of leather, but that, it has to be said, is about as relevant as the contest itself – and indeed this post.

Modified mascot

Whilst the pink and perky Kewpie doll may well have made its first appearance in a women’s magazine in the United States, its fame in Japan appears to stem from a close connection with mayonnaise; a company bearing the same name closely associating its egg, oil and vinegar based speciality foodstuff with the big-eyed baby.

kewpie mayonnaise

In fact, as well as Kewpie appearing prominently on mayonnaise packaging, it even enhances the entrance to company buildings.

kewpie

Such a close affiliation to the character however means that the soon to be released variations on the Kewpie theme by amusement firm Buildup may not exactly be greeted with the trademark open arms.

Well, the old man and melting models may not cause too much distress.

kewpie dolls

But the fat, and in particular the anorexic version, are quite possibly a different story altogether.

strange kewpie dolls