Shio has just split up with her husband. She misses him most of all at night times; the loneliness drives her to insomnia. Her sad struggle to sleep alone gives her the idea of setting up a soine (sleep partner) business. She calls the company Striped Sheep. In evenings, Shio dispatches her male employees to sleep-troubled female clients who want a man in their bed but don`t want the erm………what`s it called?…………rumpy-pumpy?
The story of Striped Sheep comes from the manga, Shima Shima, I read it in a cafe in Kichijoji today, an area of Tokyo plagued with young, single, giggly people.
Tokyo can be a very lonely city, a city of strangers, crowded with immigrants from rural Japan and overseas. Its thousands of single rabbit-hutch apartments can seem like prisons, and night-times are solitary confinement. Like many manga, the plot of Shima Shima seemed plausible.
With a little research on the internet, I found the website of a company called Soineya Prime. Their website profiles their 17 all male cast listing their names, height, blood type and personality traits. These silky slick-suited`ikemen`can be hired for 30,000 yen (250 pounds) for 7 hours. Not only will they sleep alongside you, they can cook and do the cleaning too – but erotic acts are prohibited.
Reality is weirder and more frightening than manga sometimes.
Tokyo`s autumn nights are growing longer, colder and lonelier. The warm company in our guesthouse kitchen is not matched in my bedroom. But my answer to Soineya Prime still has to be “No, thank you,” especially at 250 pounds. I am sure Ken-san from across the corridor would tip-toe over and give me a cuddle for far less.