For those who went to college, there’s the unlucky phenomena of dinner time rolling around with no one to dine with—no friends in their rooms, no strangers to be chatted up, nothing but a big room of chattering conversation between loved ones with nothing for you. I got around this in college by bringing a magazine to dinner whenever I needed to—not that I ever did, because I was the 100% coolest guy on campus—but the Japanese have invented a tool that’ll allow you to ignore the public shaming that’s surely being done when other people see you dining alone like some friendless ogre.
It’s called “bocchi,” which means “alone” in Japanese, and it’s essentially a divider that’s installed in the middle of a dining hall table so that solo eaters can look at emotionless plastic rather than other people as they fill their nutritional needs. No empty seat across from them to announce the loneliness in our diner’s heart—just a functional, form-fitting tool that clearly states the eater is comfortable being by themselves, and certainly doesn’t need your pitied looks. According to this Kotaku article, the invention is very popular at Kyoto University, where they’ve been installed. Good, because being alone is the best—ever gone to a movie by yourself?—and no one should’ve ever feel bad for shirking the attention of other people. Eat well and alone and be happy, by yourself, forever.