Saturday, 31 December 2011

Objective Proficiency p 92. Strangers for Hire. Extra Listening

Many people rent out their homes or cars, but Nina Robinson hears that in Japan some are now offering more surprising services.

We are getting used to the idea of people renting out their homes for holidays or using their cars as taxis, all via online sites. Perhaps the next wave is going to be hiring people - not just to do work for us, but for the things we once expected friends and families to do: from offering a sympathetic ear to your problem or chaperoning a young woman on a date.
Japan, with its complex social codes, is at the forefront of the trend. Nina Robinson reports on some of the eyebrow-raising services now available.
You can hire an 'ossan' - a middle-aged man - perhaps to give away a bride at a wedding or just to provide a bit of companionship. Or a young man or woman to join you in your Instagram photos. Nina also meets the grandmother who is hired to give advice to wives whose husbands are cheating on them.
The programme airs as part of the BBC’s Life Stories season, which looks at differing attitudes to death, companionship and rites of passage around the world. Strangers For Hire explores whether this is a case of Japan today - the rest of the world tomorrow.

Listen to the programme

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