The hour is upon us.

Amazon reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt. More often than not, people would feel motivated to complain rather than praise items they bought, and with the inevitability of occasional defects and user error, reviews can often be skewed to the negative.

That’s why our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma has taken it upon himself to scour the online retailer for the lowest-rated items and see if they are truly deserving of the contempt. After doing this for about a year, he can say that for the most part, yes, they are truly deserving. But that doesn’t mean that somewhere out there, a product isn’t being unfairly maligned and in need of vindication, so Masanuki carries on…

This time his online journey led him to the “5 Minute Hourglass” which received an average rating of one star and comments that “the sand didn’t fall properly,” “it took an hour to fall,” and “I thought I was in the Room of Spirit and Time,” which is one for the Dragon Ball fans out there.

Time certainly began to feel warped when Masanuki’s order arrived 10 days early. He’s gotten used to these low-rated items not arriving on time, but they tend to be on the “horribly late” end of the spectrum so this was a refreshing change of pace.

Inside was what appeared to be a normal hourglass. It was actually rather nice looking with bright blue sand for just 219 yen (US$1.57).

This was far from his first rodeo, so Masanuki knew how to set up his review for the anticipated failure. First, he’d measure how much sand actually fell in a five-minute period by syncing the hourglass with his smartphone’s timer.

He pressed start on his phone and then flipped the hourglass.

How fast would it fall or would it even all fall completely? These thoughts raced through our reporter’s mind as the sand slowly but steadily slipped through the small opening.

It kind of looked like a normal hourglass, but Masanuki wasn’t a trained professional hourglass operator and couldn’t be sure with the naked eye. Still, it didn’t seem like it would take an hour at this rate.

After about a minute, the sand continued to fall uninterrupted and it dawned on Masanuki that he had been staring at the thing the whole time. He then remembered that the product page even mentioned that this hourglass “lets you relax and will heal and soothe your mind.”

It was true, he could stare at that thing forever it seemed. After about two and a half minutes, he momentarily wondered if everything was going OK with the hourglass and then had a Zen epiphany that it didn’t matter whether everything was going OK. The hourglass was a lot like life in that regard…

With one minute remaining on the phone timer, the sand showed no fluctuation in the way it gracefully fell through the glass. Masanuki was full of emotions — on one hand, he wanted to see this beautiful little blue guy pull through, but on the other hand, he’d never bought a good item from Amazon this way before and wasn’t sure how to deal with it.

After the 30-second mark was breached, our reporter leaned in more closely. Is it really going to happen? Will it suddenly bind up?

With 16 seconds left Masanuki gasped, “No way…”

With two seconds left, just a small amount of sand remained.

And then…

Masanuki: “Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoooooooooaaaaa!”

A single tear ran down Masanuki’s cheek. It was a perfect five-minute run. Although in the animated GIF it looks as if the hourglass finished shortly after the timer, bear in mind that Masanuki – not expecting it to even come close – also started the hourglass shortly after the timer.

▼ Five minutes earlier…

That discrepancy would very likely put this hourglass’ accuracy to within a fraction of a second of its purported time of five minutes. And considering the fact that it was really cheap and arrived 10 days early, Masanuki would easily give this hourglass a five-star review. It was perfect and had no shortcomings whatsoever.

Now, if he only needed a five-minute hourglass for something…

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 ]