Many restaurants in Japan are designed to put the lone diner at ease. The tiny ramen shops where you are seated on a bar stool close to an open kitchen is one such. You find an empty seat and place your order. You’ll be handed your hot bowl of ramen soon enough. You slurp it down, pay, and leave. There’s no need and there’s no time to pretend to be busy with your cell phone.
And then there’s the restaurant where plates of sushi come to you on a conveyor belt. You just have to grab the plate that looks most appetizing to you. Again here, you don’t need company to enjoy yourself.
You walk past any office complex you’re sure to spot OLs (office ladies) seated by themselves on a bench munching into “convenience store bought” onigiris.
Even in family restaurants you will find people seated by themselves at a table meant for four downing cup after cup of “nomihoudai coohii” (“drink all you want” coffee). I’ve even seen college students working on an assignment at family restaurants and coffee shops with sharpener, eraser and pencils scattered on their table.
No one bothers you and no one rushes you to finish and leave and more importantly no one cares that you are by yourself.