For the most part, babysitting services are few and far between in Japan. Sure, there are preschools and daycare centers that provide long-term arrangements, but if you just want to hire someone for a few hours on a given day so you can enjoy some me-time, such services are hard to find.
However, Tokyo’s NonDa90 recognizes that the women of Japan could use a little more time to spend on their hobbies, with their friends, and/or for themselves, and they’re here to help! They’re not offering to look after your young kids, though, but your annoying husband or boyfriend.
NonDa90, which is located in Nerima Ward, isn’t a traditional childcare provider. Its primary business, actually, is providing alcohol, since it’s a casual pub (NonDa90 is meant to be pronounced “Nondakure,” which loosely translates to “drunk”). Still, their sign proudly announces “We’ll take care of your husband or boyfriend who’s getting in the way of you enjoying shopping or relaxing in a cafe! Our experienced staff will take the responsibility of playing with him and keeping him entertained.”
The bottom section of the sign (top photo), advertising the babysitting service, shows a diminutive husband/boyfriend being dropped off by the scruff of his neck.
It should be noted that Nondakure is not a hostess bar, maid cafe, or any other kind of “social restaurant” where some form of paid companionship is on the menu. In fact, NonDa90’s motto is “Warm beer, cold women, lousy food, bad service.” At least some of that is likely tongue in cheek, but it does offer some seriously affordable drinks. For starters, there’s no table charge or mandatory, unasked for otoshi appetizer fee, unlike many other pubs in Japan, and the sign gives sample price plans for how much it’ll cost to keep the husband/boyfriend out of the way for various amounts of time.
● “Just watch him for 15 minutes!” 500 yen → First glass of heartland beer is half-price, 290 yen
● “Please take care of him for two hours!” 2,000 yen → 90-minute all-you-can-drink plan, 1,740 yen
● “I need a long time, three hours!” 2,500 yen → 150-minute all-you-can-drink plan, 2,300 yen
● “He’s a kid who’s pretty good at taking care of himself.” 1,000 yen → 90-minute self-serve alcohol plan, 730 yen
Again, the “babysitting” angle definitely is meant to be taken as a joke, but like a lot of jokes, it’s funny because there’s a bit of truth to it. Japanese culture stresses the importance of taking the feeling of others into consideration at all times, and so it’s not unusual for men or women to feel a twinge of guilt, or at least sympathy, if they think they might be dragging their partner along for an activity that they don’t really enjoy. Likewise, since it’s not common for spouses or significant others to tag along when a group of friends is getting together, some people feel a little uneasy leaving their partner alone while they head out to have fun without them.
Since no women are actually going to be unilaterally dropping their husband/boyfriend off at the bar, NonDa90’s sign is really a lighthearted way to say, “Hey, first-time customers are welcome here!” (which isn’t always the case at neighborhood bars in Japan), and a playful way to encourage couples passing by to keep the place in mind the next time there’s a girls’ day out and the guy has free time on his hands and would like a beer in one of them too.
Address: Tokyo-to, Nerima-ku, Kitaachi 2-38-6, Otoyo Building 2nd floor
Source: Hachima Kiko
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