Dubbed “Talkable-kun,” it seems a little suspect.

Even though masks were already a common sight in Japan, many businesses have had to adapt to their even more widespread use. Everything from karaoke parlors using “mask effects” on music to masks that can translate speech into different languages.

But one industry that has struggled is restaurants. Not only does going out to eat require going out in the first place, but eating is not an activity that’s very conducive to wearing a mask.

However, Japanese family restaurant Saizeriya has recently put out a video showing their solution to the problem: a mask they call Shabereru-kun (“Talkable-kun,” as in, you can talk with it on).

▼ Here’s Atsushi Takagi, Saizeriya’s general manager of store administration, showing off the mask.

▼ The first step to wearing Talkable-kun is, ironically enough, removing your own mask.

▼ You then fold your mask in half, wrap the plastic sheet around it, and then…

▼ …you have a Talkable-kun, ready to go. Hooray?

▼ With only the dangling sheet covering your mouth, you can eat…

▼ …and drink while wearing it.

Of course, just looking at the Talkable-kun, its fatal flaw is pretty evident right away: it doesn’t actually cover your entire mouth. There’s nothing preventing infected air from coming in or out of the uncovered areas below and off to the side.

If you’re sitting at a table with three, four, or more people, Talkable-kun isn’t going to do much to prevent you from sucking down each other’s oxygen. And that’s not even taking to account laughing or louder voices that could send the whole thin sheet flying upward anyway.

Comments being disabled on the video, along with a fifty-percent ratio of likes to dislikes, shows that many others are dubious as well.

When it comes to posted messages elsewhere though, Japanese netizens were torn on whether this was a good idea or not:

“It’s an honest attempt at an idea, but….”
“I’d just rather not go out in the first place.”
“Can just imagine one of those catching fire when someone leans over a yakiniku grill.”
“I don’t think they understand what masks are used for.”
“Just buy some rice balls at a convenience store, people!”
“I mean, they’re desperate for business. If it lowers the risk, I might try it.”
“Their forward thinking is admirable. Even if it looks lame.”

Surprisingly a lot of people seemed in favor of the mask. Perhaps they don’t think the risk is that significant, or they’re tired enough of being cooped up in quarantine that they’re willing to take a chance.

Whether or not this will be more effective than Saizeriya rounding their menu prices to reduce coins passing between customers and cashiers, we’ll just have to wait to find out.

Sources: YouTube/株式会社サイゼリヤ via My Game News Flash, Itai News
Images: YouTube/株式会社サイゼリヤ
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