Brokenhearted people may not have to cry alone over lost love any more. More and more businesses are providing help to heal a broken heart, including a female taxi driver who offers a popular tour in Kyoto.
One company in Tokyo buys items that remind the brokenhearted of the lost love.
"Shitsuren Taxi" (Taxi for the brokenhearted) is a four-hour taxi tour in Kyoto that begins at JR Kyoto Station.
According to the company, the service has been used by about 60 women from their late 20s to late 50s, who made such comments as "My engagement was broken off," and "Love just makes me exhausted."
This reporter, single and in my late 30s, used the service as I recently had a bad experience with a man. The man I was attracted to and with whom I was acquainted during my reporting activities, flatly told me, "You lack sufficient sexual appeal."
The driver, Rumiko Oshita, 64, first drove me to Manshuin Monzeki temple in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, which is acclaimed for its dry landscape gardens.
When I saw a 400-year-old pine tree at the temple, I began to feel somewhat calmer, although I did not know why. I then sipped a bowl of green tea at a tearoom near the temple. By the time the tour was over, I felt my frustration had eased.
A woman in her 30s from Okayama Prefecture sent an e-mail to the company after she used the service in August last year. "I just saw a garden and drank tea, but it made me shed tears," it read.
Oshita said: "The pain that brokenhearted people feel can't be understood by other people. However, brokenhearted people may feel like unburdening themselves to a taxi driver because the driver is a total stranger they met while traveling."
The tour was launched three years ago by Cerca Travel Co. in Nakagyo Ward in the city, and costs ¥20,000 (S$240) plus tax for one person to charter a taxi.