Japanese man pioneers cure for loneliness

The pandemic has taken huge a toll on people’s mental and physical health. Japan is pioneering solutions in both fields. A man has earned an enormous online following and a modest living by renting himself out to the bored, lonely or needy as a companion who does nothing, says Richard Lloyd Parry in The Times. Tokyo’s Shoji Morimoto is a concerned citizen paid by his clients for idle conversation to ease their loneliness.

Shoji will sit down with you, eat the lunch you’ve brought him, and hang on to your every word, regardless of what you are saying, all for a fee of 10,000 yen per day (£70). Attracting social refugees, outcasts, and those who need a good chat, Morimoto’s unorthodox service has become famous for its judgement-free companionship in a world where social isolation is rife. However, even Morimoto says that “I can’t do anything except easy things”. That’s where Japanese firm Toto’s Wellness Toilet comes in.

The internet of toilets

Plugging a gap in the healthcare market, a company’s self-declared internet of toilets is equipped to monitor all your vital signs. It will set you back by £1,813. Through scanners monitoring the customer’s rear end, the artificial intelligence-enabled loo will tabulate a user’s data through waste samples, feeding back precise recommendations on how they should change their lives for the better. It will blow-dry their bottom too.