Inadvertent prohibition makes the new normal feel even stranger.

Most of Japan had last week off for the annual Golden Week spring holiday season, but on Monday it was back to work. For those unable to telecommute, that meant heading out of the house and an increased risk of exposure to coronavirus not only during their commute, but in the workplace as well.

For what it’s worth, many companies are at least trying to make their officers safer for those who have to be on-site, such as the employer of Japanese Twitter user @benjamin_oppai. When he came into work following Golden Week, he noticed signs had gone up in the office announcing a new policy workers were being asked to abide by.

Written in small black text across the top is anzen daiichi (安全第一), meaning “safety first.” The important part, though, is the bold red characters smack dab in the middle of the signs.

Let’s start at the end, where we’ve got 禁止/kinshi, which means “prohibited,” Next, let’s examine what workers are being asked to refrain from.

If you’ve got an elementary grasp of Japanese kanji characters, you probably recognize a few, or maybe even all, of those. 対面/taimen is a common word made up of the characters for “opposite” and “face,” and which means “facing each other.” Then we’ve got 座位/zai, which is a phrase that doesn’t show up so often in daily conversation, but doesn’t look too hard to figure out. 座 means “sit,” and 位 means “position.”

And that makes sense, right? The coronavirus can spread through the air, so it’s not a good idea for you and your coworkers to sit directly facing, and thus breathing on, each other. You should stagger your seats instead.

That’s all true, but taimen zai has a very specific meaning in Japanese, and it’s not just “sitting facing each other.” It’s “sitting and facing each other while having sex.”

Yes, this company has posted signs letting everyone know, for their own safety, that face-to-face-sitting-down sex is prohibited. Lying down or standing if you’re going to be getting it on face-to-face, please, and if you do insist on sitting down, your eyes had better not be lined up with your partner’s.

So how did this happen? The most likely explanation is that whoever typed up the sign got taimen zai mixed up with taimen chakuseki. Taimen chakuseki, chakuseki written with the kanji characters for “arrive” and “seat,” is the correct term for sitting facing someone without your fun parts bumping into each other.

▼ Top: taimen zai
Bottom: taimen chakuseki

The company’s inadvertently bold prohibition had other Twitter users leaving comments such as:

“When will we be set free and have life back to the way it used to be?”
“So…doggy style is OK then, right?”
“Well, even with that one off the table, I can still think of 47 other ways to get the job done.”
“Steamy…but the advice checks out.”

Honestly, though, whether there are signs or not, it’s always a good idea to refrain from intercourse, of any style, in the common-use areas of your office. And since @benjamin_oppai doesn’t report seeing any of his officemates mating since the notices went up, it looks like the signs are working, even if that wasn’t their original intent.

Source: Twitter/@benjamin_oppai via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: SoraNews24, Pakutaso
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