The word seiza is usually translated as “sitting Japanese-style,” but many would argue that “pain” is an equally valid equivalent. Literally translating as “correct sitting,” seiza came about from traditional Japanese interior design not featuring chairs, and since sitting cross-legged was deemed too relaxed for formal situations, in times when dignified manners are called for you’re supposed to sit with your legs folded underneath yourself, as shown above.
While it looks nice and dignified, the downside to seiza is that it can put a lot of your weight right on top of the tender ligaments of your knees, ankles, and other lower body parts. Even many modern Japanese people find seiza incredibly uncomfortable.
But thankfully for people who hate seiza/like their legs, there’s now a handy seiza helper called Pattato Seiza.
“Pattato” means “fold-up,” and the Pattato Seiza is a small stool that you fold into shape to support your body as you sit with your legs tucked underneath you.
It’s incredibly compact, just three centimeters thick, and light too, weighing a mere 180 grams, so it’s easy to toss in your bag and carry with you.
Setup is simple, as the pieces fold easily into place in matter of seconds.
But despite its small size, Pattato Seiza is surprisingly stable. The seat itself is contoured so that it cups your backside, keeping you balanced even as it keeps your weight off your legs.
It’s also pretty comfortable. Obviously no one is going to be throwing out their living room recliner and using this as their seat of choice for binge-watching their favorite Netflix show, but a Pattato Seiza session is infinitely more comfortable than sitting seiza-style for the same period of time.
As an additional plus, because of the design and color (purple and black are available) the Pattato Seiza doesn’t really stand out when you’re sitting on it, allowing you to prioritize comfort in a discrete way.
The Pattato Seiza can support weights of up to 100 kilograms and can be purchased through online marketplace Rakuten here, priced at 1,320 yen.
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