an old watchmaker

I removed all the magnets from the fridge to pack for my new apartment.

Moving those magnets is tricky because they must be separated from my wristwatches by at least 3 feet. It’s the rule for the wristwatch’s well-being that I was taught by an old watchmaker.

His shop was run by him and his wife and I used to visit it very often when I lived downtown Tokyo. My friend once gave me a wristwatch as a gift and she wore the one of the same design. The back of hers was taped up unsightly and she warned me that once I had its cover taken off for a battery change, it wouldn’t be closed again because the watch had a peculiar shape. When the battery was dead, I brought the watch to the old watchmaker’s shop. Although I had thought he would tape up the cover, he grappled with the cover for as long as 10 minutes with sweating and closed it beautifully.

Since then, the shop has become my favorite. Some watches didn’t start ticking even with a fresh battery and in that case, he took time and mustered various old tools from his tattered box and his unique skills to fix them perfectly. I liked to see him working on watches. I can’t count how many times he saved my watches in bad condition.

Years later, I moved to the suburbs and became unable to visit his shop. When the battery change was needed for the peculiar-shaped watch, which had been the old watchmaker’s specialty for me, I brought it to a clock store chain in a nearby shopping mall. I thought they would tape up the cover this time around, but they closed it with a special gadget right away. I wonder if my favorite watchmaker has already retired while I religiously obey his law to separate magnets from watches…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

Audiobook : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total