Don’t you just love vacations? Don’t you just love it when you’re actually ON the vacation, rather than just your…stuffed animal going? Yes, for those who feel that the rigors of not existing are too much for their stuffed animals, there exists a service that allows you to send them on vacations — without you.
The service is the brain child of Sonoe Azuma of Unagi Travel, a travel agency that organizes vacations for stuffed animals around the world. She’s been doing this for several years, and apparently people are, well, actually doing it.
The prices are reasonable, or as reasonable as a vacation for an inanimate object can be: $45 for a tour of Tokyo, and $55 for a hot springs tour. On the current November tour, stuffed animals are making the rounds in Shibuya, historic Asakusa, and Tokyo Tower. An English-language site exists for those not in Japan who desire to send their favorite toys from yesteryear on a trip around the world, so don’t fret. Your stuffed teddy bear can visit Tokyo and all it has to offer while you stay at home and look at pictures of it.
While it may seem silly, there have been reported therapeutic benefits from this practice. One woman had become reclusive after an illness rendered her unable to walk without extreme difficulty. She sent her stuffed animal on a trip, saying that seeing the pictures of its travels encouraged her to try to rehabilitate her legs. Others, including some confined to a wheelchair, have used the service for a variety of reasons, but the reactions appear to be entirely positive.
It may seem weird to us, but travel by proxy, even if it is just a stuffed animal — let’s be honest — you’re just jealous you didn’t think of it yourself.