New to Amazon: Rent-a-Monk Services!
Mr. Monk Delivery
Well, I know with the internet and all that, it's getting easier and easier to find what you're looking for and have it delivered to your door. Well, now Japan has extended that to monks.
Amazon Japan now offers online "rent-a-monk" services, or Obo-san-bin, for customers, offering a basic package for 35,000 Yen (About 300$), which includes transportation, donation, and basic services. There are three additional packages available which do include more services, for a slightly higher fee.
Screen shot from Amazon Japan's Rent-a-Monk page
Well, it seems that the public appreciates the system, (which, the Monk-rental services have actually been around prior to being advertised on Amazon) allowing them hassle-free time getting prices and services for their loved ones. From the temple perspective, these religious organizations are losing money which they rely on to keep their buildings running.
It reminds me of the websites in America that allow for people to be ordained with just a few clicks and a small fee. I guess if you really want to complete your Japan experience, you can rent a monk while on vacation to lead you in an afternoon prayer!