It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, and I’m not just saying that because he signs my cheques.

We here at SoraNews24 have an affinity with the restaurant industry, often covering eateries big and small and bringing you the best cuisine Japan has to offer. However, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we can’t help but notice the strain this has been causing such businesses.

Our founder and supreme leader Yoshio was especially worried so put all of his mental faculties to finding a solution that will help restaurants stay open and busy while also ensuring the safety of their customers. It didn’t take long for him to exclaim, “I got it!” and run out of the room.

Yoshio returned with an umbrella, plastic tablecloth, and sage-like expression on his face.

He explained his theory that anyone can make face shields and partitions, but they interfere with the dining experience greatly and can be really costly when used in numbers to equip an entire restaurant. Yoshio believes he has solved both of these problems at a total cost of only 200 yen (US$2) per unit.

▼ Vinyl umbrella: 100 yen ($1)

▼ Transparent vinyl tablecloth: 100 yen ($1)

“Stand back and document my every move,” Yoshio instructed, “this will save lives.”

Normally, our founder approaches his inventions and schemes with a goofy glee, but this time he seemed really serious. It was as if he focused all of his absurdity on solving this one problem with a laser-like precision and intensity.

First, he removed the vinyl sheet on the umbrella by popping off the rubber caps on the tips of each rib.

Then, while minding his surroundings because those ribs can be sharp, Yoshio removed the end tip which released the vinyl completely.

The next part required a little finesse. Yoshio located the screw near the top of the shaft that normally prevents the umbrella from opening to far.

Yoshio usually obeys the law, but with so much on the line he decided to risk it all this one time and removed the stopping screw. He then extended the umbrella beyond its recommended limits…into the unknown.

After that, he re-attached the vinyl by sliding each rubber tip back onto its rib.

And finally, he completely put the vinyl back in place by sliding the end tip back on.

Stage one of his design was complete and it resembled an umbrella that was caught in an especially strong wind. However, rather than ruining a salaryman’s commute, this inside-out bumbershoot was going to bring joy to all humanity.

Next came the vinyl tablecloth, which was taped to the vinyl part of the umbrella that had just been re-attached.

Yoshio didn’t tape it all the way around, however. He left a gap just wide enough for a pair of shoulders to pass through comfortably. When finished, it resembled a little hut.

Given the ceiling height of our office, it was far too long, so he started cutting off the excess tablecloth with some scissors.

And with that, production was complete.

The final stage was installation. To accomplish this, Yoshio stuck a hook onto the ceiling with some two-sided tape and simply hung the umbrella handle from it.

Yoshio: “Behold, the AS Field!!!”

The “AS” stands for “absolute safety” and as you can see, it provides the diner with enough space to keep their own air-borne droplets to themselves and freely eat their food without having to worry about a mask.

Yoshio was too busy making the AS Field to prepare any food for the demonstration, so hopefully an empty plate suffices.

Even better, the AS Field provides a full range of vision which is essential for diners who enjoy people-watching or live under constant threat of assassination. Just ask Virgil Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey.

▼ Ahiruneko: “I have to go to the bathroom. Is that all right?”
Yoshio: “Ya gotta go, ya gotta go.”

Unlike conventional partitions, the AS Field allows everyone to enjoy their food and the company of others in equal measure.

▼ Yoshio: “I’ve never eaten here before, but I heard this place is great. What are you having?”

▼ Ahiruneko: “Something light… My AS Field doesn’t fit like it used to.”

After trying it himself, our writer Ahiruneko was surprisingly impressed with the AS Field. It had about the same space as a partitioned seat in a ramen restaurant, but unlike those it felt more open because he could see all around him.

▼ Yoshio: “I really treasure this time we have together.”

This is usually the part of the article where we point out the fatal flaw in one of our staff member’s wacky ideas and maybe learn a life-lesson…but, this one’s actually pretty good. Sure, it looks a little rough and could use a stronger connection to the ceiling, but those drawbacks are hardly insurmountable. All in all, the AS Field is very cheap, very easy to make, and very effective.

I guess after ten years we were bound to hit on something at least once.

Yoshio was not about to toss away this precious moment of brilliance either, and savored his victory in the comfort of his AS Field.

“I’m not saying the world will be saved by this,” he told us, “but if I can just help out one restaurant, and then have them name a dish after me, then it will all have been worthwhile.”

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]