Has Shoji Moromoto (“Shoji”) found the ideal job? His dream job? Maybe. He gets pay for doing nothing. Yes, nothing. And it pays rather well, $99 per hour (10,000 yen).
Talk about working smart, or not working, but still earning. His parents must be beaming with pride.
In any event, the lanky and nothing-much-to-look-at Shoji is in the rental business. He said: “Basically, I rent myself out. My job is to be wherever my clients want me to be and to do nothing in particular” (maybe I can consider renting myself out for a chat?)
In the last four years, he had handled 400 sessions, and mind you, Shoji has a quarter of a million followers on Twitter. He is basically a celebrity doing practically nothing. Where did he get his inspiration then?
““Before (Shoji) found his true calling, he worked at a publishing firm and was often chided for “doing nothing”.” That was his eureka moment. So he effortlessly mused: “I started wondering what would happen if I provided my ability to “do nothing” as a service to clients.”
That was the birth of the idea of doing nothing. And will Shoji patent the idea, hire and train staff, and build an empire on just doing nothing? Stay tune...
Anyway, there is a catch, because “doing nothing does not mean that (Shoji) will do anything. He has turned down offers to move a fridge and go to Cambodia, and does not take any requests of a sexual nature.” He has about one or two clients a day, until the pandemic struck.
It is reported that “last week, (Shoji) sat opposite 27-year-old sari-clad Aruna Chida, having a sparse conversation. The data analyst wanted to wear the Indian garment in public but was worried it might embarrass her fiends. So she turned to (Shoji) for companionship.”
“With my friends, I feel I have to enter them, but with the rental guy (Shoji), I don’t feel the need to be chatty,” Aruna said.
In another rental, Shoji accompanied another to the park as the person wanted to play on a see-saw. “He has also beamed and waved through a train window at a complete stranger who wanted a send-off.”
Well, there are friends with benefits, and here we have strangers with benefits, but for a small hiring charge.
Shoji’s philosophy (for now) can be summed up in these words spoken by him: “People tend to think that my “doing nothing” is valuable because it is useful (for others). But it’s fine to really not do anything. People don’t have to be useful in any specific way.”
Lesson? Just one.
I am reminded of Adam asking God for a helper. He had everything, yes everything, even God. But he wanted something different than the everything he really had (or God had given him).
What Adam was really asking for was company which became his companion for life, his wife. Eve was not Adam’s do-nothing companion. Her presence filled a void in Adam’s heart.
They connected and both of them completed each other. The two became one in their life’s journey, notwithstanding that one memorable couple’s tiff concerning a fruit biting session.
In any event, it was the first romance on earth, though by default, but was consciously made.
From Adam and Eve to Shoji and his many strangers-who-turned-friends, with one “stranger” hiring him about 270 times, the void we struggle with is universal and timeless. And the novel and sensational headlines of “getting paid doing nothing” is nothing new, actually. It is just a marketing tactic, and Shoji has a temporary first mover advantage on it.
From courtships to marriages, from friendships, social escorts, sugar daddies to Shoji’s rental business, they only vary in degree. Other than that, it’s all about the age-old Adam-and-Eve issue. And in a crude way, they also vary in the value one party offers to the other.
If you put a price on everything, marriage is not exactly free. It comes with a price. The price tag is supposedly ”paid” over a lifetime, and a divorce can wipe out half of your fortune. But the material cost is one thing, the emotional and mental cost can be far more damaging.
So, look at it that way, it is indeed a costly companionship. Walking down the aisle and unveiling your bride is like entering into a joint venture that is definitely not costless. But if it works out, the so-called investment is worth every “cent” put in, and so much more.
We thus return to Shoji. As far as his rental business is concerned, he is imparting value. In the market economy, value is whatever you are prepared and willing to pay. And Shoji is paid $99 per hour for his company, whether it is a silent or less-than-silent one.
Some may even unabashedly see tying the nuptial knot as a lifetime hire. But the rental is paid by both, with varying rates, however, not in coins, notes or currencies, but in time, devotion and sacrifices.
So, who says you have to do something in order for the payer to consider that something as one of value? Value can come from doing nothing, and in that case, I won’t consider what Shoji does as doing nothing, because it pays to do something that is, well, nothing.
Shoji is specifically useful to his hirers for just being there as and when he is needed. His calling is therefore the ministry of presence, but with an hourly charge.
And that nothing is not nothing since the sari-clad Aruna hinted to that trading value by saying: “With friends, I feel I have to entertain them, but with the rental guy, I don’t feel the need to be chatty.”
Or maybe, it is the idea of a “Twitter celebrity” that Shoji is renting out. It is not for nothing though, because it takes lot of work over time to get there, from conception to implementation.
And that is the price of novelty, innovation, fame and companionship.