Terrified of being seen alone, students eat in toilets
IHT/Asahi: July 7, 2009
… a notice banning the consumption of food in university toilets is more sad than scary. A little research sheds light on a growing phenomenon: Some students are so lonely they shut themselves inside toilet cubicles to eat. The notice, with the same message, the same design and the same warning but with different school names, has been posted over the last few months in toilets at numerous universities. “The following activities are banned in toilet stalls,” says the notice, citing smoking, graffiti and eating. All schools flatly deny putting up the warnings, raising the question of who did it and why. ….
…. it is better to eat in a toilet than to be perceived as friendless and spotted dining alone in the school cafeteria…more…
This odd habit is called “benjo-meshi“, literally toilet meal. Although this is being reported as “news” it has been a long-time phenomenon in Japan. Photos of this notice banning the consumption of food in university toilets have been posted for several years (see the photos below dated 2005 and 2007, respectively).
I have noticed over many years that reclusive salarymen hiding in the toilets at lunchtime to eat and hide from coworkers.
Recently because of my mega-broken leg, I have come to curse these wacko hikikomori (social isolates) because they tie up the few rare handicapped toilets that exist. I would love to put up such fake signs. I can imagine that the reason for, “all schools flatly deny putting up the warnings,” is that students are making the fake signs to mock the crazy behavior of the toilet lunchers.
Story idea and link thanks to “Mulboyne”.