Our reporter found a major problem with the mask…but don’t worry, he fixed it!

With a worldwide pandemic underway, it’s important to wear masks wherever you go, but it’s also important to support the economy. So what do you do? Besides getting takeout, you can also go to Saizeriya, where they will give you a mask you can wear while you eat, called Talkable-kun. Though it’s been a while since it became a thing, our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa recently went to lunch at Saizeriya with Mr. Sato and a few other colleagues, and they all tried out Talkable-kun to see how it works.

As it turns out, Seiji thinks it sucks. Let us be clear; his intention isn’t to diss Saizeriya or even to dump on the idea of a mask you can wear while you eat, but Seiji is a journalist and therefore had to give an honest, unbiased review of Talkable-kun. His conclusion: it’s just not a workable product.

The napkin-like mask is supposed to sit under the nose and hang over the mouth, but, obvious concerns about its efficacy in actually preventing the spread of a virus aside, Seiji had one major problem with it: it’s really hard to eat when you cannot see where your food is relative to your mouth when wearing it.

It sounds ridiculous, but in trying to eat with his mouth covered, Seiji realized how important it is to be able to see where your food is going while eating. Especially because you have to bring the food up from underneath Talkable-kun, rather than straight on, it’s kind of hard to tell how far you need to raise your fork or spoon, or even at what point you should change direction to put the food in your mouth.

▼ And, as a side note, it’s impossible to use it without getting it all stained and dirty, which is kind of gross.

Having experienced the inadequacies of Talkabale-kun first-hand, Seiji took it upon himself to improve its design. The most logical solution to the problem of not being able to confirm if the food is close to his mouth or not is to make it visible. But how to do that without defeating the purpose of the mask?

The answer is this:

Yes, that’s right: the answer is putting your whole face underneath Talkable-kun! By raising the point from which Talkable-kun hangs to his forehead, Seiji eliminated the problem of not being able to see where his fork is going. “I can see!” he cried, as if he were Archimedes shouting “Eureka!” in the streets of Syracuse.

▼ The rest of the party humored him good-naturedly but mostly ignored him and went on eating.

However, this brought about a new problem: now he could see the food, but not anything else. He could no longer tell where the plates were, or where his drink was, or even see his coworkers as they chatted around him, heedless of his roiling internal conflict. Lowering one side of Talkable-kun to rest below one eye seemed like a ridiculous solution. Had he no choice but to choose between seeing his food and seeing his colleagues?

No, there must be a way…


That’s it!!

By having Mr. Sato poke eye holes in Talkable-kun, its biggest problem was solved in an instant! “I can see!” he cried joyously. “I can see it all!” The food on his fork, the plates on the table, his drink cup, his coworkers smiling indulgently around him–he could see everything just fine, and still be wearing a “mask” while eating!!

This is it. Mr. Saizeriya President, sir? How about this design? Never mind that not a single person copied Seiji–not even Mr. Sato, who never backs down from a great idea, however ridiculous it’ll make him look. This is the future of protective eating-wear; Seiji is sure of it. And if the president of the casual eatery chain doesn’t respond, well, now the information is out in the open, and you are more the wiser for it. So go forth and eat safely, friends, and if people are laughing at you, just be satisfied in the knowledge that you are doing what you can for the sake of mankind.

Photos © SoraNews24
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