We’ve been doing it wrong this whole time, and probably so have you!

The chair: an invention as old as time used by people and some animals clear across the globe. We humans have many differences but one common tie that binds us is our love of sitting in a chair. But how many of us are doing it properly?

Our reporter Seiji Nakazawa recently discovered that by Japanese standards he had been doing it all wrong for his entire life and probably so have you. It was an accidental discovery that he made while attending a service and manners seminar held by ANA Business Solutions.

Seiji had never held a corporate job in his life, and his RocketNews24 employers noticed in the way his social graces were somewhat lacking around the workplace.

So they enrolled him in the intensive two-day seminar from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to teach him how to carry himself with poise and dignity in professional situations.

There were a lot of revelations during the lecture which amazed and enlightened Seiji, like the professional merits of shaving and brushing one’s hair. But truly the most influential lesson for him was how to sit in a chair.

Seiji could tell this was big, because this time he wasn’t the only one in the room who gasped in amazement at what the lecturer told them. Not only was everyone taken by surprise that there was a specific method to sitting in a chair, but there was actually a reason for it as well.

Upon returning to the RocketNews24 office he quickly got to work documenting how to sit in a chair in five easy steps so that we all can begin doing it right!

How to sit in a chair

1 – Approach the chair from behind on the left side. Then bring your left leg straight forward, followed by your right leg which will move diagonally and land in front of the chair. Then bring both feet together.

2 – Hopefully you did step one so that there is about a five centimeter gap between the chair and your legs. Now begin to lower yourself by lowering on leg while sliding it backward. Make sure to keep your body facing straight forward.

3 – Keeping your body upright, lower yourself onto the chair quietly. Don’t sit too deep into the chair right away. At this point you should only be partially in it.

4 – Now, grip the sides of the chair lightly with both hands and slide yourself deeper into the seat.

5 – Men should have their feet apart to about shoulder-width and rest their arms on their thighs. Women ought to keep their knees and ankles together and overlap their hands on their lap.

And that is how you sit in a chair. Most of this method is obviously intended to create a sense of poise in the sitter, but the most head-scratching part is why people have to approach the chair from the left. The ANA lecturer explained this to Seiji.

“The right side corresponds to the higher rank, so standing on the right side of the chair gives an image of arrogance to the other party. Therefore, in business manners you should sit from the left side.”

It’s a bit of an antiquated custom in Japan sometimes tied in to the way samurai used to wear swords on their left hip, but in many situations business or otherwise, you will find a connection between the right side and a position of power in Japan. Sitting in a chair is no different it would seem.

Indeed, it’s a bother to have to go through such a rigid routine every time you sit down in a chair. But in an important meeting with a Japanese boss or client you certainly don’t want to accidentally give off a bad impression, so it would be a good move to keep in your repertoire.

Armed with this new knowledge Seiji felt like he had become an adult all over again and will no longer eat noxious fermented Swedish fish in his Clash T-shirt in the office…or will he?

Original article by Seiji Nakazawa
Photos © RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]