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As with many things Japanese, it is traditional that a kumihimo braider sit seiza in front of the marudai. Seiza is not kneeling, as some believe. It looks much the same, but you are supposed to be sitting on your feet and ankles. For a Westerner raised to sit in chairs, this position is difficult and painful. If done for long periods of time, the feet and lower legs suffer from a lack of circulation and often "go to sleep".
As with many things Japanese, the world has developed ways for Westerners to cheat.
This low bench keep your butt up off your feet for comfort, but keeps your butt and legs at the angle they would be if you were sitting seiza properly.
There's a bit more detail (but not much) at the Seiza Bench project page.
2009.11.10 at 10:00am EST
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