What do you do in the toilet? Of course, we don’t mean the obvious “business”, but things that people usually do out of the restroom. Reading, for example. And with media and entertainment made accessible with smartphones and tablets, many of us surf the internet, watch YouTube videos, or play mobile games while on the toilet. A minority of Japanese practice benjo-meshi, literally translated as “toilet meal”.

As the name suggests, it means to have a meal in the bathroom. We always thought benjo-meshi was something unique to Japan, but apparently not! We found evidence of some westerners having meals on their toilets too!

In Japan, benjo-meshi happens among individuals who have no friends, most of the time occurring in schools (sometimes even in working environments). In Japanese schools, it is often a standard practice for students to have lunch in their classrooms. For most students, lunch break is an enjoyable time where they can freely mingle with friends over lunch, but for the few loners who are not as socially adept as the rest, allegedly end up having to quietly finish their meal alone. You might think that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about having lunch alone, but in some cases these quiet ones are bullied and teased for “not having friends”. So in order to avoid glances and unpleasant remarks, they would rather have their meal within the walls of a toilet cubicle.

As the following photos would suggest, however, there are plenty of Westerners who are more than familiar with taking a meal on the potty.




▼ That looks like a healthy meal.


▼ Okay, she looks pissed. Better to leave her alone…


Having to eat in the washroom sounds like a miserable experience, whether you’re being bullied or not. Some of us might be grossed out just by imagining it, but some of these jolly fellas look like they’re enjoying their restroom chow time though!




▼ Three’s a party!


We’re pretty sure many of those pictures were taken in jest, but perhaps benjo-meshi is a global phenomenon silently taking place where most of us don’t notice. Do you know of someone who dines in the restroom?

▼ To end this post, here’s a Japanese guy’s take on the issue (in English!)

Source/Images: I Love Japan