There are countless aspects of Japanese society that are just impenetrably foreign to me. Things that, no matter how long I live here, or how many Japanese friends I make, I could never ever hope of understanding. The latest of these strange little gems to catch my attention: the booming Rent-a-Friend industry.

If you're interested in getting an actual well-reported view of this trend, you can listen to a podcast here. Or read about it here.

But the long and the short of it: you can rent a friend if you're lonely. Or a husband if you have to go to a formal event and yours will not look quite right in a suit. Or, if you're about to get married and your parents are embarrassing peasants, why not rent some cosmopolitan yet still cuddly fake parental units! Or perhaps you've lost your job, but you still need a boss to toast you at your wedding - there's one for hire. You can even write the speech!

I could go on for ages poking fun at this, but now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps I might do well to rent a friend, seeing as how the internet is, like, totally my bestie.