The Japanese are famous for their relatively introverted characteristics. But it doesn’t mean that everyone likes to be alone. More than that, some people are afraid of being noticed by someone they spend time with alone. And the extreme people do “Benjo-Meshi (便所飯)”.
What Is Benjyo-Meshi?
Benjo-Meshi is internet slang for “toilet meal” coming from the combination of the words “benjo (=toilet)” and “meshi (=meal)”. It may come as a surprise to some, but a small percentage of Japanese students don’t want others to see them having lunch alone during break time. So they eat their meals in the toilets.
According to the survey conducted by the news site “SIRABEE“, as many as 5% of all the Japanese have ever had lunch in the toilets. When I first saw those numbers, I felt it was surprisingly high.
Why People Have Lunch in The Toilet?
The psychological reasons for Japanese people’s reluctance to have lunch alone seem:
- Having lunch means no friends
- With no friends means not attractive
- Unattractive person is worthless
Some Japanese people are overly concerned about how they are perceived by others as represented by “Riajuu“, even at lunchtime when they are supposed to take a rest. Some universities have installed partitions on the cafeteria tables to treat the students having lunch alone carefully. It is important to deploy an environment where students can concentrate on their studies without unnecessary stress. Still, I personally feel skeptical about the system which discourages students from becoming independent adults.