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The Art of Friendship

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How do you define friendship?
How do you make new friends?
How do you choose which friendships to grow?
How do you drop friendships? Do you?

To get you started, an article from the BBC:
***Rent-a-friend in Japan***
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Lola - or Rora - to give her a slightly more Japanese pronounciation - is a beauty and she knows it.

Customers pay by the hour for her company. Usually they just want to stroke her, but as a special treat for favoured clients, she will lie back in a chair, close her eyes and pose for photographs.

Lola is a Persian cat who works at the Ja La La Cafe in Tokyo's bustling Akihabara district. It is one of a growing number of Cat Cafes in the city which provide visitors with short but intimate encounters with professional pets.

When I called, there were 12 felines and seven customers, mostly single men.

One man, in his early 30s, was attempting to bond with an Oriental Longhair by means of a rubber mouse.

Yutsuke, who speaks with a lisp, is normally rather shy with people. He longs for a cat of his own but frequent business trips make that difficult. Besides, he lives alone, so the Ja La La is his solution to the problem.

The right pet

It costs about £8 ($10) an hour to spend time in a Cat Cafe.

If felines do not appeal, other establishments will rent you a rabbit, a ferret or even a beetle.

There are more than Protected content in Tokyo which are licensed to hire out animals of various kinds and although beetles may be cheap, dogs much more popular.

First you pay a deposit and a hire fee. Then you are issued with a leash, some tissues and a plastic bag and given some advice on how to handle your new friend.

Kaori is a pretty waitress who regularly spends her Sunday afternoons with a Labrador. They go for a walk in the park if the weather is fine, or if it is wet they just snuggle up in front of the TV in her apartment.

"When I look into his eyes, I think he's my dog," Kaori told me. "But when I take him back to the shop, he runs away from me and starts wagging his tail when he sees the next customer. That's when I know he's only a rental dog."

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