An American in Chengdu

Furniture | December 24, 2009

The move to the new office reminded me of a rant I’ve been meaning to post for some time, on the subject of Chinese furniture. This picture, of the table and one of the chair in my apartment, is a good illustration of my reasons for complaint. Note that the table has two levels. The bottom one could, I suppose, be used to store a napkin holder, condiments, or anything else that didn’t fit on a laden table. Or diners could use it to play backgammon during the meal. Yes, in theory, the possibilities are limitless. In reality, though, I never see people using these under-table shelves for anything. Their primary effect is to make the table simultaneously too high (I feel a bit like a munchkin sitting at one, and after awhile my shoulders begin to ache) and too low (my knees don’t fit comfortably underneath).

And then there is the chair. It’s made out of wood, and lacks even the basic concessions to the human form that Americans expect of, say, metal folding chairs. More comfortable chairs are certainly not difficult to find in China, but this one is typical of what usually greets my posterior in places such as hotpot restaurants and Chinese language classrooms, both of which involve sitting for upwards of an hour and a half.

Exhibit B: My new work desk. It's a great desk. Except for those pesky ergonomics.


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1 Comment »

  1. Wow. Those pictures all look profoundly uncomfortable.

    Comment by Helen — December 28, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

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    About me

    I've come to Sichuan in search of adventure, fluency in Chinese, and awesome vegetarian food. I have to concede that the baby pandas are very cute.
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