Akihabara is ground zero for Japanese manga, anime, and video games. No wonder the place caters to every nerd fantasy imaginable, such as maid cafes for guys (butler cafes for gals) as well as more adult services.
The latest business to make a splash in Japan's nerdom is always patrons to sleep with ladies. That's it, apparently. Just sleep. Um.
Located in Akihabara, it's called Soine-ya; "soine" (添い寝) means "sleeping together", and "ya" (屋) means "shop". The business's concept, however, isn't originally Japanese as website IT Media claims the idea was based on a similar business in New York. It's apparently the first of its kind in Japan.
Soine-ya is not cheap. After shelling out ¥3,000 (US$39) in membership charges, 20 minutes of "together" sleep costs another ¥3,000, while six hours can reach ¥30,000 (US$386). That's not even a full night's rest!
The nickel-and-diming, though, is mind-boggling. For example, customers must pay ¥1,000 ($13) to have the lady resting her hand on their arm for three minutes, while gazing at each other for one minute costs another ¥1,000. If you want to put your head on the lady's lap, it's three minutes for, well, ¥1,000.
Online in Japan, the reaction to Soine-ya has been one largely of bewilderment. Many Japanese net users have no idea why someone would spend all this money on such a service. "Geez, this is creepy," wrote one. "Yep, this shop is targeting stupid nerds," wrote another. Others were quick to say that those interested in Soine-ya should just visit an adult entertainment establishment, instead.
This place of business is zeroing in on emotional needs, instead of merely carnal ones. Maid cafes work in much the same way, allowing otaku the chance to chat up girls in frilly maid outfits—which is why they have often been compared to hostess bars for geeks.