Markets in everything the culture that is Japan (Finland)

Introducing Japan’s Moomin Cafe, which seats those who are dining alone with large stuffed animals to keep them company.

Moomin Cafe is a theme restaurant, based on a series of Finnish picture books about a family of hippopotamus-like creatures.


At the link you also will find interesting pictures of the food.  For the pointer I thank R.H. and also Jeffrey Lessard.

By the way, here is a parable about the “Hello Kitty” craze in Singapore.


I think that would make me feel sadder than just eating out alone. But, then again, I'm not Japanese.

At least they ain't got no tentacles

Well, if the stuffed animals looked like this, I'd be tempted to spend a solo lunch hour there from time to time:

This reminds me of the scenes in "Saving Mr. Banks" between Emma Thompson's P.L. Travers and a giant Mickey Mouse stuffed animal.

When I was six I would have been super excited about this. I really liked Moomintroll, but now... I saw an episode of Mindy Kaling's show one night on the road and in it she coerces a male coworker to take her to the American Girl cafe, and then asks him why nobody likes her, it was very funny. I should probably watch another episode.

The whole Kitty craze of the past fifty years says something, whatever it is though the current state of feminist theory and our understanding of deferred adulthood are clearly inadequate to the task.

How thoughtful of them to highlight a customer drinking tea on her own like it's normal. Reminds me of this story.

Moomintrolls are part of every Finnish kid's childhood, just as much as Donald Duck (well was at least). Theme song is probably as recognised as DuckTales theme. Also I think almost every second home has some Moomintroll china (coffee cups) at home. They are actually kind of pretty.

pfft... what a bunch of weirdo autistic eunuchs. Eating alone... with stuffed cartoon animals. You need charisma to make it in this new social networking economy. Why can't these loser introverts be just like the rest of us?

You know what I hate? Descriptive names.

No link to the Jansson centennial?

What's bad about eating alone? It is peaceful. Don't need to worry about someone else. I don't get why people are so troubled by this they want a stuffed animal.

Yes, I'd rather have a live cat.é

There's a restaurant in Palo Alto frequented by a neighborhood cat. It will sit politely next to you, and when you are about to eat something that looks good, she will gently touch your arm with her paw, hoping you'll give her a treat. I heard that the cat owners ask you not to do that, because when she gets home, she throws it all up.

When I eat alone, I prefer to be by myself...

Someone should ask the stuffed animal if it minds watching human beings eat. I know I do.

We use facilitated communication for that. They're okay with it.

I went here with my family last week, and it was mostly other families and moonin fans, not lonely solos.

I think there's a major bias to assume that anything the Japanese do is because they're weird. The little time I've spent in Japan the sizable bulk of people were nice, well-adjusted, quite normal and socially balanced. Most had nice families that would easily fit in American suburbia. You often read in Western press accounts about how Japanese karaoke joints are filled with people singing alone because they have no friends. But most of the booths I saw were filled with large groups. The otaku like sub-cultures exist, but definitely only form a small minority.

I wonder if foreign journalists went trolling around America for weirdoes, because their home-based readers lapped it up, how we'd come across. I'm sure if you were to attend cosplay conventions, D&D tournaments, and singularity meet ups you'd find plenty of freaks and geeks.

Well said. This seems like a case of confirmation bias, and I find myself experiencing Murray Gell-Man Amnesia. I (an American) recently went to one of these in Japan; from what I saw the patrons were mostly groups of teenage girls, rather than solo diners, who were there to take group photos with the Moomins, etc.

"I wonder if foreign journalists went trolling around America for weirdoes, because their home-based readers lapped it up, how we’d come across."

What's funny is that I'm sure you've read a ton of pieces that did exactly this and didn't even realize it.

CNNI has a correspondent, Kyung Lah, who made this a specialty when she was based in Japan. Guaranteed one Japanese pervert story a week, with bonuses for horrific crimes. When she covers Korea her tone is completely different. I had a friend who would constantly complain to me about this, but I think it comes from the Japanese press, they publish freakish Japan stories all the time in their English editions. Just think what you would think of the Swedes if all you knew was what was published on

Good observation. Most Koreans, and especially those who don't live in Japan, *hate* the Japanese. (Kyung Lah is Korean).

And European newspapers *love* to write about shootings in the US. Shootings in Greece, not so much.

Finland has no Moomin Cafe because the customers would all wonder what the stuffed animal was thinking about them.

Not quite. They would all be in the sauna.

It's pretty striking to me how stubbornly specialized and advanced Japan's economy remains even though this nation of xenophobic savers! refuses to jump on the Western neoliberal bandwagon.

Obviously Japan needs open borders so more immigrants can befriend these lonely young men.

I say Japan needs to be opened up, the Dutch Monopoly on the Japan trade at Nagasaki is insufferable. I will not continue to pay these absurd prices for lacquerware. Send the fleet to Edo bay and force the Japanese open!

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