December 15th, 2004


Japanese 'lap pillow' offers solace to lonely men

TOKYO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Single or lonely Japanese men may get lucky this Christmas.

One popular item for holiday shoppers is the "lap pillow," with skin-coloured polyurethene calves folded under soft thighs -- a comfy cushion for napping, reading or watching television.

The 9,429 yen ($90) pillow, which comes with one red and one black skirt, went on sale in late November and maker Trane Co Ltd says shipments have reached 3,000 in just a few weeks.

"We created this item to help tired people relax," said Makoto Igarashi, Trane's managing director.

Care was taken with details such as the softness of the thighs, panty lines on the pillow's "backside" and wrinkles in the lap of the skirt so as to make the pillow look and feel as real as possible.

"We thought our main customers would be men in their 20s, but even men in their 60s are buying it," Igarashi said.

At stores, lap pillows gather crowds where people poke and pry at the foam legs.

"I think this may be good for single men, but it could cause trouble for someone who is married," said Shingo Shibata, a 27-year-old company employee browsing at a toy store which sells the pillow.

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Oddness today at work.

Received an e-mail, an unexpected e-mail.

I had to disappoint somebody in a big way. Somebody who put a lot on the line to ask me a question.

It was a question I was surprised that she asked, though in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have been.

I am disturbed by this.

In an attempt to be clear: I am not by any means ready to get involved with anyone on any serious level. I doubt that I will be for some time to come, probably years. I have a lot of stuff to work through yet.

That doesn't mean that I can't be friends, or date, or just do fun things together. But if I don't want to get serious, it's nothing personal.