Restaurant refuses to serve couples on Dec 24 so singles won’t be reminded of their loneliness


Ah, Dec 24, Christmas Eve. The time to spend with parents, siblings, drunken aunts and that one crazy uncle that’s always telling you about chemtrails after four or five eggnogs. Or, the time for romantic dinner dates, proposals and convenience store chicken, if you’re in Japan.

The holiday has long been the bane of Tokyo singles, who are forced to watch thousands of happy couples marching all over town Christmas Eve, hand-in-hand, checking out the Christmas “illumination” shows that have become so popular over the years. That it’s one of the few times public displays of affection are relatively accepted in polite Japanese society just makes it all the more difficult for lonely guys and gals to bear.

But, this year, one Tokyo restaurant has a plan to give all those Forever Alones out there a safe haven to dine in peace on Christmas Eve and, who knows, maybe even find a potential partner.

The spaghetti diner PiaPia, on the outskirts of Tokyo in Hachioji, posted the hand-drawn sign at left in one of its windows recently.

It reads: “As it would cause severe emotional trauma to our staff members, we will be denying entry to all couples on December 24 with no exceptions!”

Okay, so it seems the real purpose for the policy is to save staff members – who may or may not be single – from being forced to watch couples make kissy faces at each other while they slave over a hot stove, but it’s sure to create the perfect environment for singles to enjoy a plate of spaghetti in relative peace. Who eats spaghetti on Christmas Eve we may never know, but it’s the thought that counts, we guess.

The Japanese netizens seem positively smitten with the idea, posting comments such as:

“I wish all restaurants would bar couples on Christmas Eve.”

“I’m considering getting a job here now!”

“What even is this?! This is hilarious!”

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Makeinu ga ooi ne, nihon.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Or, the time for romantic dinner dates, proposals and convenience store chicken, if you’re in Japan.

Kentucky Fried Chicken!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well, you do what potential profit tells you, maybe there are more singles than there are couples visiting that store ? so, bring on the profits!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Being part of a couple is no measure of any success, nor is being single a measure of any failure. If you are single, go live your life with passion and aplomb. Don't rue being single for a second. Do what you want to do when you want to do it, and life a full life. It has never stopped me from enjoying travel or restaurants or concerts or anything else. Go! Have a good time and forget social prescriptions for your life. You only get one (that you can be sure of).

13 ( +16 / -3 )


0 ( +1 / -1 )

Great publicity ploy. I'll bet PiaPia won't have any empty seats.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

God, there are a lot of overly sensitive people in Japan. Just go full hikikomori and avoid reality entirely.

0 ( +8 / -9 )

If the PiaPia were really concerned about their employees then why not close that day and give them the night off? But I am sure if you look closely, this is one of those places that works people to the bone and doesn't give them any time off all because that is how they used to do it.

As far as being alone on Christmas Eve, if you are so it is probably your own fault. I have learned that there is someone for everyone, if you really looked hard enough. And the fun part of it is looking. Not just going out clubbing and mindless relationships, but going out and doing things and maybe meeting someone along the way that has similar interests and getting to know them.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

It's a risk the restaurant is willing to take, most Japanese people won't take it offensively and then avoid the restaurant in the future. Personally, I think they could have struck a compromise where they limit the number of couple seating and throw in a 8% discount to sit with a stranger.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree with Alphaape - shouldn't feel lonely if it's your own fault. Boys, put down the manga. Girls, stop being so picky. And both of you, put down your smartphone. Look up and see what's right in front of you...on second thought, pick up the smartphone and join Tinder.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

As far as being alone on Christmas Eve, if you are so it is probably your own fault.

That implies that there is something wrong with being single, and that everyone should always be working towards finding a partner.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Certainly there is nothing morally wrong with being single. By the same token, certainly couples can be abject failures and probably should be singles themselves. But this concern with poor singles' mental anguish about seeing too many love-love couples, to paraphrase @jcapan is being "overly sensitive." If you are that tore up about your singleness when you see couples on some invented Valentine's Day in December you are borderline unstable. If it's just a joke by the restaurant, no biggie, but if seeing couples is causing actual despondency for the poor singles that's the makeinu/loser part.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I am amuse of the mental level of some people in here..... Business is not your thing...

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Single or couple, too many restaurants enforce "Christmas sets only" policies. With this gouging, it's better to stay home and cook something special yourself.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Certainly there is nothing morally wrong with being single.

Don't get me wrong, I was not trying to say that being single means something is wrong with you. I get the fact that even though there is somebody for everyone, some just prefer to be alone. I have no issue with that. If that is your lot, then don't worry about those who have someone, or feel lonely on a certain day.

What's next, this place will enforce the same rule on Valentine's Day or White Day? If someone recently lost a grandparent will they also say no elderly people will be allowed as to not offend those who may have lost their grandparents or don't have any?

It's their business to run, and if they want to do it that way fine by me. But don't trot out the "its for the employees" line. If they were really concerned as I stated give them the day off, or even better, if they work give them time and a half (I used to love to work holidays to get the extra pay when I was a salaried worker) and stop sticking your noses in your employees lives. If you are going to do such a thing, then at least pay them for your intrusions.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

because CHRISTMAS is not VALENTINE'S DAY!!!! Japan is doing it all incorrectly!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

So now they get to watch this scene unfold - Guy A to guy B at the table next to him: " I'm soooo lonely. Mind if I cry in your soup?" Guy B: "Only if you let me bawl my eyes out in yours first." HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So no Lady and the Tramp, dog-kissing-dog action there, eh? This is what it should be:

1 ( +1 / -0 )

being single is best and works best for some people, I tend to be one of those. I really love being single and not tied down with an anchor.

0 ( +3 / -3 )


is not the kind of notice a healthy and supportive workplace posts in its window

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Now that's a restaurant I salute to! I'm fed up of all the restaurants that discriminate me because, uh oh, I'm entering alone. With staff being totally perplexed, not being sure where to put me, looking strange at me, etc. because, hey, I came to eat alone!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The commenters trying to make people feel like losers for being single are just proving what a good idea this is

I don't think single people are losers for being single. There may be people who have a partner and still be lonely for the holiday due to various reasons.

If someone is alone for Christmas, then they are just that, alone for that day. Are they alone for the rest of the year? Also, for me at least Christmas has a completely different meaning than going out to eat with my partner, the birth of Christ and not a day to go out as a couple to an expensive resturant.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm with Nessie. Who wants to eat out, alone or in a couple, at Christmas? You get a choice of Special Christmas Chicken Leg Set or Special Christmas Chicken Breast Set. No thanks.

And if single folk get upset over couples at Christmas, why not go the whole hog and ban families on Children's Day in case childless folk get sniffy, or old folk on Respect for the Aged Day to spare the feelings of those whose aged parents/grandparents are no longer here? Ban ladies in kimono over the New Year holidays, in case ladies not in kimono feel bad. Ban bright young 20-year-olds on Adults Day, to save the feelings of those for whom 20 is a long distant memory. I could go on, but the thought of the last one has done me in.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

“The commenters trying to make people feel like losers for being single”

Single people aren’t losers. But single people incapable of facing couples on a prominent date? I was single for a couple of years in my 20s (now wistfully reinvented as bliss) and it was touch depressing at times to see happy couples, but fleeing them outright or wanting to frequent segregated zones where only soloists were around would have sounded insane and, if anything, more of a downer.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

cleo et. al.: Granted the discussion in question is largely focussed on people living and working in Japan eating out at Christmas (or not), and I agree that if that's the case it's better to be at home with family and loved ones, but what if you are travelling? Certainly if it's a hotel that does not have a restaurant or offer some kind of 'family-like' get together for guests on this special day going out to a restaurant that offers some semblance of Christmas is better for some than sitting in your hotel room. I've been in Hanoi for a couple of Christmases and loved going out on the Eve of, getting a turkey dinner (with a group of friends) on one occasion, and then alone on another occasion (my choice, and I certainly did not begrudge others who were on dates or in groups). For people who live/work in Japan and are alone on that day I think it's better to eat out if you want a change from home. I have on occasion spent Christmas alone in Japan -- a couple of times because relationships had just ended, and twice because for one reason or another my better half and I couldn't swing the same schedules. On one of those times I made a roast chicken (I had one anyway... it was not entirely due to it being Christmas) and ate part of it myself and that was a hell of a lot lonelier than going out for dinner by myself (it was one of those occasions where I just broke up, which likely played a part).

In any case, this restaurant is being foolish, especially if they are suggesting that it might be a good chance for singles to hook up. I mean, if two people start speaking to each other wouldn't that be 'extreme emotional trauma' for the staff as well? If someone asks to join someone else will they be barred from doing so because they might become a couple?

Stupid gimmick, and I hope it totally backfires and restaurants that don't limit their customers one way or the other are full of happy people, single or with others, who have opted to go out to eat.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

As far as being alone on Christmas Eve, if you are so it is probably your own fault.

Jeez, you really know how to rub people up the wrong way don't you, Alpha?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Alpha-The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.

The Bible doesn’t mention his exact birthday, and the Nativity story contains conflicting clues. For instance, the presence of shepherds and their sheep suggest a spring birth. When church officials settled on December 25 at the end of the third century, they likely wanted the date to coincide with existing pagan festivals honoring Saturn (the Roman god of agriculture) and Mithra (the Persian god of light). That way, it became easier to convince Rome’s pagan subjects to accept Christianity as the empire’s official religion

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bad for business, quite THOUGHTFUL of them otherwise, but it will HARDLY do anything for how I will feel Christmas Eve...then again, I'll feel a BIT better than LAST year, spent in a tent in Afghanistan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The singles need to suck it up a bit. Or find some friends to party with. Oh, and family is always good. My Aunt Mimi was a hoot when she was drunk!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I'm single, and I don't care. I only wish there was turkey in Japan, and that Christmas was actually a holiday, then it would be very interesting to see how many people would bother cooking the real bird and eschew that disgusting KFC dinner. Or I could advertise a free dinner for singles and invite a dozen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The sprit of Christmas depends on sharing time with family and friends, cultural festivities and civic gatherings. A time of celebration and reunion. Being alone for the convenience of the restaurant's staff may be some local joke. Certainly, if a family were to arrive the restaurant isn't turning them back into the street? The sign seems to imply 'kissy face' not allowed, that should be a rule in all restaurants at all times, with severe penalties.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A restaurant guaranteed to be full of unattached people? Sounds like the mother of all mixers! I hope the staff is allowed to troll for partners as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just a cheap publicity stunt. Couples can go in there anyway and sit at separate tables and then walk out laughing arm in arm.. Hahahaha. Fact is most singles here are happy being single. Most of the men have zero need for intimacy and prefer magazines and videos and the women prefer food to sex. In a relationship they may actually have to maintain eye contact for more than a millisecond or even hold a conversation for more than 10 seconds about something meaningful. Scary thought for some. Add to the prospect of "what if the relationship develops" and the couple has to maintain a family unit and move out of home. No more free rent, all utilities paid for, no more free food with all meals cooked, dishes done, clothes washed, hung, dried and folded and bed made. Why would you take the risk of being in a relationship. Scary. So much to lose.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

People who have such a disdain for couples tend to show it....thus explaining why they are single even if they want a partner.

This summer at a festival I met two former students who were literally flipping couples off they were so jealous. It was one of the most repulsive displays I have ever seen. I did feel sorry for them though because they just entered junior high, a naturally difficult age for dating, but made oh so much worse by the Japanese education system which ensures they have almost no free time. And that system might do a lot to explain why anyone could even conceive of banning couples at a restaurant.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

im 29 and single, ill be spending my christmas reading lone wolf and cub and making home made salmon sushi

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Restaurant refuses to serve couples on Dec 24 so singles won’t be reminded of their loneliness

Wouldn't it make more sense to do this on Valentine's Day? You know, when the reminder of being single is at its strongest? I've never associated Christmas (or Christmas Eve) with romance at all. It's just that annoying time of year where people indulge in excess: excessive spending, excessive eating, excessive drinking, and in some households; excessive arguments. Valentine's Day on the other hand is all about couples and romance, and causes the highest level of depression in singles. I typically spend V Day hiding from the world at the bottom of a bottle, whereas Christmas Eve I'm too busy working to give a flying futon about romance, and I know I'm not the only one like this.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I've never associated Christmas (or Christmas Eve) with romance at all.

Then you obviously don't and haven't lived in Japan, or if you have, you haven't lived here at Christmas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who. Cares? I mean, really? THIS is news? Okay, so PiaPia doesn't want to serve couples. Is Seiyzeria still open? Are they still serving to couples (or anyone else who walks in with money and is hungry)? What about any other Italian Restaurant in the greater Tokyo Area? How about in the rest of Japan? Really? I lived in Japan for 12 years, and the whole "alone at Christmas" thing (and, I was alone for eight Christmases when I lived in Japan) never really impacted me. But maybe that's just me.

At any rate, PiaPia can do as they wish,but this thing about offending singles? Crazy. STUPID, really....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Who. Cares?

Considering the activity in the comments, a fair number of people do

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So a place for singles to meet someone and then try to get a reservation a 'love' hotel?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

from being forced to watch couples make kissy faces at each other while they slave over a hot stove,

In Japan?

I think they will be forced to watch couples say only 2 words to each other while they are typing away on their smartphone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Alpha-The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.

@ badman: I am fully aware of the history of Christmas and how it came to be on the current particular date. My point is, whatever the date is, it is the day chosen to celebrate the birth of Christ, not for couples to get together for romantic dinners and make others jealous. That's how I view Christmas, regardless if it was in December, or more so in the springtime since according to accounts, that's when the shepards were normally out tending their flocks at night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

it is the day chosen to celebrate the birth of Christ

Christmas has never been about that for me. It's been a time to get together with family and friends and be thankful for what and who I have. On that note, a romantic dinner with a significant other is an entirely valid way to spend the day/evening.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Being single is great is it? Errr, I don't think so! I'd rather be in the arms of my gf than not ! Think Japanese aren't attached and don't like sex? Think again because they certainly do.....!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Being single is great is it? Errr, I don't think so!

I love my wife and family, but I also loved being single. If ever I should go back to that state, I will have no problem with it. It's not healthy to need someone to be complete. The best relationships are those between two complete people, not those who are dependent upon each other for completion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I only wish there was turkey in Japan

Costco: 3000 yen for 6.5 kg. Or order through the department stores or The Meat Guy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it's a great idea, because I've noticed that Many Japanese that is without a boyfriend or girlfriend tend to feel very depressed at Xmas time. It is not the same as Valentine's, since many celebrate friendship or love on VD.

At Xmas, it is different, It is mostly because Japanese turn this day a romantic one, but also it is a day to spend with your family, but a single person working far away from home it becomes more depressing when you have NO ONE to spend with.

As for those who say, "If you are alone at Xmas is your fault", that it is not true, single people may choose to be alone but also many have difficulties in getting a GF or BF, and since Xmas day (25th) is not a holiday it is not that you can fly home to see your family or your hometown sweetheart, that's the difference with other countries, you have to work on the 25th, and Xmas is so widely spread that you cannot escape from it.

Going back to Valentine's day, even though it is widely known through the world, since it is not a holiday, not all people can celebrate it, if a couple where both are working, the chances that they get the afternoon free to take a stroll hand in hand are pretty rare, so mostly they could have dinner, as for young people (like high school) they give chocolate to your crush but also to your friends so the romanticism is diluted a little bit, university students have schoolwork so, they do not spend all day on it...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Use a better approach: "Excuse me folks, but today is "share with a single" day, so as long as you not mind the company of other single people, you are welcome to dine with us tonight".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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