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.
It costs about Â£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 150 companies in Tokyo which are licensed to hire out animals of various kinds and although beetles may be cheap, dogs much more popular.
There are also rental husbands, friends, and distant relatives.
Loneliness is a problem faced by many people on these crowded islands. But the Japanese are prone to believe that, in the right circumstances, money can turn a stranger into a friend… at least for a couple of hours.