Japan eatery bans couples on Xmas Eve

Japan eatery bans couples on Xmas Eve

To spare staff and diners from the "severe emotional trauma" of being surrounded by mushy couples flaunting their love in the faces of lonely singletons, a restaurant in Japan has banned all couples on Christmas Eve - "with no exceptions!"

Spaghetti diner PiaPia, located just outside Tokyo, is the latest restaurant to hop on what is being called the "anti-loneliness" trend in Japan and around the world.

It is a phenomenon that tries to eliminate the stigma of dining alone, by offering stuffed animals as dining companions or tables for one.

According to RocketNews24.com, a sign posted outside Pia- Pia restaurant makes no qualms about banning smug, happy couples on Christmas Eve, with hand-drawn images of male and female figures holding hands crossed out with a big red X sign. Locals at RocketNews24.com note that the Christmas holidays have long been "the bane" of Tokyo singles, when couples traditionally descend en masse on the streets to take in the illumination and revel in their coupledom.

That it is one of the few times public displays of affection are relatively accepted in polite Japanese society just makes it all the more difficult for lonely guys and women to bear.

Anti-loneliness schemes are gaining force around the world. Moomin Cafe in Tokyo, for example, fills empty chairs with giant, stuffed animals to serve as companions for solo guests, AFP reported.

White hippos

Based on the characters by Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson, the stuffed white hippos are placed at tables across the cafes. The cafe has multiple locations in Japan and recently opened its first outlet in Hong Kong.

Last year, a pop-up restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands, likewise addressed the long-standing stigma of dining out alone by offering tables only for one.

The concept became a viral success, garnering headlines around the world for attempting to break the taboo of solo dining.

This article was first published on December 14, 2014.
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