"Your hand feels like a pillow that's been in the microwave": Stuffed friends for sale

Seen that episode of "30 Rock," where James Franco is having a full-on clandestine relationship with a Japanese anime body pillow? Yeah, well, in support of the age-old-adage of truth trumping fiction in the strange department, it turns out that's actually a not-as-uncommon-as-you'd-think phenomenon in Japan. I recalled reading this article in the New York Times about a year ago and being severely creeped out by the ever-extending breadth of fetishes to which I'm not privy. Man, those Japanese, I thought. They're cutting edge. Here in the U.S of A our anti-social citizens merely jerk off to cartoon porn while simultaneously battling wizards and such in WoW in the privacy of their parents' basements. This is a whole new level. Now, however, a company by the name of I Am a Stuffed Animal, has made this exotic Tokyo import a domestic reality. For the bargain price of $69 (far less, you'll agree, than the going rate for dinner and movie that a flesh and blood date requires) anyone with a computer can order their own customized stuffed "friend." All you have to do is send in a photograph of the person you want replicated in button-eyed form (yourself, your sister's hot friend, the woman from CVS you've been faithfully stalking for the better part of 6 months) and Voila! Approximately 4-6 weeks later you have a down-filled likeness of the object of your affection (desecration) with which you can do anything you want. Anything at all. I leave it to you, dear reader, to fill that very large blank. 

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