A Tokyo Eatery is Setting Up Lonely Diners With Stuffed Animals

In Depth

One Tokyo eatery apparently feels really, really bad about people who come in and dine alone. Instead of doing the American thing and just giving them a free plate of cheesy fries, though, the restaurant has come up with an…interesting solution.

See that little guy in the lead image? He’s one of a group of characters called the Moomins. They’re from a Swedish-Finnish book series/animated series about a family of hippopotami-esque creatures. A Twitter user going by the handle Haru went alone into the Moomin Cafe in Tokyo Dome City LaQua, and shortly after being seated:

A staff member told her that if she didn’t mind, there was somebody who wanted to sit with her. That somebody turned out to be the laconic “Snork Maiden,” the galpal of Moomin’s character Moomintroll, who the server brought out and placed in a chair.
“The waitress had such a big smile on her face, I couldn’t say no,” Haru told RocketNews24. “But it was also so cute!”

Yes, through that link above the pull quote lie pictures. MANY pictures. I really can’t decide whether this is the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen, or one of the most uplifting. Could go either way.

If you’re wondering why there’s a restaurant in Japan themed around a Scandinavian folktale fine, children’s story, you pedantic asshats — come on. It’s Japan. This is the same country with a teenage trend known as B-Style (a combination of “black” and “lifestyle” and, yes, this is about to go exactly where you’re afraid it is): Japanese teenagers who essentially dress in blackface and appropriate African-American culture. To be fair, it’s not a hugely prevalent trend now, but it’s been around for quite a while and used to be bigger; I was watching documentaries about it back in college. By comparison to that, there’s nothing particularly unusual about the Moomin Cafe — other than, obviously, its predilection for wanting lonely diners to enjoy their meal while being stared at by an anthropormorphized Finnish hippopotamus.

Image via Olga Popova/Shutterstock.

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