'Lonely Seats' Make It Easy to Eat Alone at Japanese Universities

Students can now eat alone, together
Staff Writer


These "lonely seats" let students avoid eye contact with strangers.

Two prestigious Japanese universities, Kyoto University and Kobe University, have installed "bocchi seki" — "lonely seats" — in their campus dining halls, according to Asian Internet culture site Kotaku.

The lonely seats were first installed at Kyoto University last spring while the school was updating its dining hall, according to Asahi News. Tables with a divider almost 2 feet tall running down the center allow students who are either shy or hurried to eat without having to interact with anyone else.

For some, dining alone can be enjoyable, but for others, the prospect of a meal without friends is nerve-racking; this isn’t the first constructed solo dining venue we’ve seen — remember Eenmaal, the Amsterdam pop-up that was designed with parties of one in mind?

Students at the Kyoto and Kobe universities reportedly like the lonely seats for their convenience and for the privacy that they provide. "If you are sitting at a big table by yourself it's like you don't have any friends and that is embarrassing," one 22-year-old male student told Asahi.

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