Potted plants nod to lonely Japanese

January 18, 2009

TOKYO (AFP) - Nobody listens to you in the office or at home? A little potted friend will be there for you, always nodding to you with encouragement.

The Pekoppa toy, which looks like a small plant just starting to sprout from a pot, flutters its two leaves or bends its stem as if it is reacting to someone who is speaking nearby.
Japan's Sega Toys Co. Ltd. has already sold 50,000 of the toys over three months since it was launched in Japan in late September, company spokeswoman Minako Sakanoue said.
The toy can serve as ""a communication tool"" for the young and old, she said.
""If you have no subordinates who would listen to your grumbling in the office or no children who would talk with you, Pekoppa will be by your side, gently nodding,"" she said.
Sakanoue said workers could also set the toy on their desks for encouragement as they make a sales pitch by telephone.
Pekoppa, literally meaning a nodding leaf in Japanese, is priced at 2,310 yen (26 dollars).
The company will release flower versions, called Hanappa, in early June in Japan, for 2,625 yen each.
The toys use thin metal wires that move flexibly like muscles when sensing sound.