How not to Dine Alone in Ja­pan

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

It is a mark of our hurly-burly times that lack of mean­ing­ful hu­man com­pan­ion­ship can be­come an is­sue. Blame it on life­styles, com­pet­ing ca­reer graphs et al; but we have le­gions of people in ur­ban ar­eas feel­ing lonely at some point. But trust the en­ter­pris­ing — of­ten sur­real — Ja­panese to try and come up with some sort of pal­lia­tive. En­ter the “anti-lone­li­ness” café, where the sin­gle trav­eller can sit down to a meal with some com­pany. In this case, a stuffed hippo-like thingummy called, for what­ever earthly rea­son, a Moomin. What ap­par­ently hap­pens is that once you walk into this café, and place your or­der, the Moomin is brought out and placed near the ta­ble. You then have com­pany, and feel much bet­ter. It isn’t clear whether pa­trons of the café at­tempt to ini­ti­ate a con­ver­sa­tion with the thingummy — you know, about the weather and where you are from and where you’re head­ing sort of small talk. It also isn’t clear whether, this be­ing Ja­pan, the Moomin emits any ro­botic sounds, etc. Though, clearly, some form of in­tu­itive AI con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist stuffed toy hippo would be of some help in keep­ing the talk go­ing. Then, why stop at merely hav­ing this stel­lar com­pany when din­ing? Surely, a grown man or woman can, well, have a ver­sion of tak­ing the thingummy home. And what hap­pens there might well be an­other story….

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.