TOKYO CONFIDENTIAL: I get satisfaction — with a doll

MARK SCHREIBER – The Japan Times

Dacapo (Sept. 9)
“Tomoko-chan,” who comes across as a young lady of good breeding,
awaits
Hiroshi on the sofa, motionless and expressionless. The air
conditioning is
set to a cool 21 degrees, but Hiroshi still can’t keep from perspiring.
Does
his discomfort stem from nervousness? Or is it just revulsion at the
clammy
sensation of “Tomoko-chan” ‘s silicone skin?
“Where’s my libido when I need it?” Hiroshi moans.
A 21-year-old student, Hiroshi was enlisted by Dacapo to report on a
visit
to “LaLa,” a newly opened shop in Tokyo’s Akihabara district that rents
private rooms furnished with a bath, toilet and, one other item . . .
life-size female “mannequins.”
Businesses renting sex dolls have been springing up rapidly over the
past
two years, and may currently number over 100 in the Tokyo area alone.
Most
specialize in home delivery, but LaLa’s stable of 17 latex ladies do
their
entertaining on the premises.
“Tomoko,” whose proper designation is “Dutch wife,” boasts a solid
torso and
limbs as opposed to being inflatable. “She” stands 150 cm tall and
weighs 28
kg. To purchase one of her kind outright would cost 600,000 yen; but at
LaLa, the pleasure of her company may be obtained at the rate of 12,000
yen
for 90 minutes.
“On a really good day, we might get as many as 30 customers ,” the
store’s
manager tells Dacapo. “Our patrons range in age from teens to men in
their
60s. For the most part they appear to be quiet, timid types, who
probably
feel more at ease with a doll than a young chick.
“Some bring along shopping bags with a couple of extra costumes. I
suppose
they enjoy dressing up the dolls and taking snapshots.”
Upon entering LaLa, Hiroshi received an instruction sheet that reads,
“Your
doll will not make remarks or engage in ‘selfish’ activities, but won’t
say
anything else, such as ‘It hurts,’ either. Her body is more delicate
than
that of a real human. Bending the joints or fingers in an unnatural
manner
can result in breakage to the skin, so please handle her gently.”
After watching an erotic DVD to get himself in the proper frame of
mind,
Hiroshi set about to the task of seduction.
“After I undressed her, I was upset to see that her head hadn’t been
properly screwed on,” he grumbles.
Did the earth move, for Hiroshi at least?
“Well, I felt something,” he admits. “But it gave me something of a
guilt
trip, and I was asking myself, ‘What am I doing here?’ and I guess at
that
point I got completely turned off.”
Takuya, Hiroshi’s classmate, found his doll — a prim, bespectacled
type
dressed in a stewardess uniform and named Alice — a bit more
congenial.
“There was no problem in the missionary position, but with some of the
others we tried I had to hold her up, and since she was quite heavy my
arms
got tired. “I kept thinking of previous enjoyable experiences, and was
finally able to go all the way.”
Still, the dolls’ overall impression clearly leaves something to be
desired.
“It made me realize how futile it can feel to convey love that doesn’t
get
reciprocated,” Takuya philosophizes.
Considering that LaLa’s rates are the same as shops featuring real
females,
Dacapo concludes that the doll rental business, which requires extra
effort
on the part of customers, really has its work cut out.
The Japan Times: Aug. 28, 2005
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