What are those short, low, very wide tables?

I stopped at a little outdoor cafe to buy a snack. As I was looking around for a place to sit, I noticed short, low, very wide tables placed around the outdoor area.  At first I wondered if the tables were set in preparation for an upcoming trade display of sorts where there would be various objects set on them for show. I didn’t want to sit on those! The tables were too low to set a chair or bench beside for seating American style, nor did they have any benches or chairs. As I stood wondering, I thought maybe we were supposed to sit on the ground like we sat on the floor at the low table inside my friend’s Japanese house. I thought, do I sit on the gravel? There are no cushions.

A few minutes later all my presumptions were proved incorrect when I saw a couple of girls walk up and casually sit down right on top of a table! Ah, I was relieved to discover what to do!  Indeed, the tables are large enough for one to sit on top of the table and have ample room to spread out your lunch items. In fact, the table seemed large enough to lie down on and take a nap, but I wasn’t sure if that was allowed, so I didn’t try it.

This proved to be a lesson learned just in time for my visit to the nearby temple garden. There was a small cafe there where one can enjoy green tea and sweets.  And, there were short, low, very wide tables also with red tablecloths; only this time I knew what to do.
lunch table

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