Does Masanuki wear the chair, or does the chair wear him?

Working for SoraNews24 means that you’ll occasionally be out and about tackling strenuous tasks such as giant stuffed panda racing or renovating a cheap house in the countryside. Since it’s not always possible for our team to be typing away at a regular office desk, a more versatile option seems like the perfect solution. Therefore, we jumped at the chance to test out a “chairless magic chair” when a reader suggested it to us.

The chair caught the eye of our Japanese-language correspondent Masanuki Sunakoma in particular, who found several similar models ranging in price from 8,000-12,000 yen (US$56.14-$84.21) on Amazon Japan depending on their main use. He ended up buying the cheapest version at 7,945 yen which is advertised as being handy for hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, outdoor concerts, and countless other situations when you’d like to take a break from standing.

His package arrived in a slightly beat-up cardboard box about two weeks after placing the order.

He pulled it out and took stock of the funny contraption that he would be clipping to his legs.

The leg braces are said to hold up to 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of weight. Masanuki wondered if they would get in the way of walking, though.

The instruction manual was quite thin. When he cracked it open…

▼ Suspense!

…The diagram was exactly the same as the one on the cover. What was even the point…?

In any case, he proceeded to strap the Velcro clips around his left leg as instructed. He secured them quite tightly for this testing round.

Then it was on to the right leg and the belt around his waist. He needed to do a little fine tuning of the joint parts that fastened behind his knees.

Once fully equipped, a feeling of great power suddenly overcame him and he felt like he could do anything (slow down, Masanuki!). It was time to test the chairless magic chair in action.

After taking some steps outside, he confirmed that the braces didn’t really get in the way of walking. Sure, they added a little extra weight, but they conformed to his legs and weren’t really hard to get around in. Of course, they didn’t make it any easier to walk. He could feel them there but not to the extent that he had predicted. It would definitely be really hard to run, though.

Next up was trying to sit down. He carefully lowered his legs into a seated position as if he were sitting down to read something…

▼ Down, down, down

…and promptly toppled over.

Squatting was fine–or rather, endurable. It wasn’t easy at all. The only magic that Masanuki felt was happening was him pretending to look like he was relaxing in an invisible chair.

He wasn’t one to give up so easily, however, and decided to retighten the straps for a second go.

Once again, he bent down…

▼ Success this time?!

…but it was a flop again.

He adjusted them yet again but with no success.

Masanuki concluded that if he were to get a bit more used to the braces, he could maintain the position decently well while squatting. They made it a tiny bit easier to squat over a long period…but would never help for being fully seated while commuting to work, let alone climbing a mountain. It would definitely be easier to just bring a collapsible chair along with him, which really defeats the point.

Masanuki didn’t know whether he had a bad experience because he bought the cheapest chairless chair that he could find or he somehow wasn’t using it properly. However, he certainly loved the idea of the chairless magic chair. This particular one just seemed to need a bit of evolution before he could truly call it handy. He looks forward to testing future models that would undoubtedly be useful when using a Japanese squat toilet–or praying at the squat toilet temple.

Reference: Amazon Japan
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