Japanese Universities Install Anti-Socializing Cafeteria Tables

At the request of students who wanted to avoid lunchtime socializing, Japanese universities in Kyoto and Kobe have replaced regular tables with so-called “lonely seats” featuring 50-cm dividers in the middle.

In most cultures, going to lunch with friends or co-workers is a great way to take your mind off the job and relax, but it seems that’s exactly what the students at Kyoto University are trying to avoid. They are busy people who don’t always have time to sit around and make small talk with their peers, so in order to avoid this kind of uncomfortable situations, they’ve asked the university for a practical solution. There are always empty tables where they could eat their meals in peace, but according to one 22-year old engineering student¬†“If you are sitting at a big table by yourself it’s like you don’t have any friends and that is embarrassing.” So to solve this predicament, the university replaced the regular cafeteria tables with “bocchi seki” or “lonely seats” that have an opaque divider across the middle so the person on the other side can’t see you slurping your noodles or engage in a conversation.


According to Japanese newspaper Asahi, these lonely seats have become very popular with students. Now they can just eat their lunch in peace without worrying about unwanted socializing.¬†“When I don’t have much time or I’m in a hurry, the lonely seats are convenient,” said a 22 year-old female student. The funny thing is, the boochi seki offer no protection from the person sitting next to you, so if they’re in a chatty mood, you’re in trouble. Still, the idea proved so popular that Kobe University recently installed its own lonely seats to appease its students.



The concept might seem a little strange, but you have to remember some people value their privacy. Also, let’s not forget we’re talking about Japan, a country famous for its social outcasts, the hikikomori.

via Kotaku

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