The second person I would like to write as I appreciate is the big master "Mr. Ikuta Sakamoto" during my practice period.
He was 70 years old at that time.
He was powerful person run Hida Craft for 50 years since the era when he delivered products to Mitsukoshi department store crossing Nihon-bashi bridge with two-wheeled cart.
I was 22 years old.
I was able to graduated from the art-school in interior and architecture without any issues.
I had strongly false self- incidence somehow.
I was struggled to find the next step.
I would like to be the No.1 in the world if I have to do.
Design, architecture, and interior, all are quite attractive, however, I was dumb dumb, thus, I had no idea how to become No.1.
Without clients, I am not able to make my works.
However, in case of furniture, as long as the workshop exists, if we do not care so much about its profitability, I believed it would be easy publish whatever I would like to make.
I was confident about my skills with my hands and I simply thought it would be faster to make whatever I would like to make.
Then, I knocked the door of a workshop for furniture with deciding 3 years as my practice period.
At the interview, "I am planning to establish my own workshop in 3 years.", I said.
My statement made interviewers stunned a moment and then cracked them up. They said, "Are you idiot ? It takes at least 10 years to be adequately trained !"
I replied "I should not be measurable on the same scale of ordinary people." Again, my answer made them stunned and then cracked them up.
"So, would you start from cleaning the bathroom?"
Then, my practice period has started.
I shaved hair of my head and adequately psyched up, however, I made fruitless efforts.
I cannot do anything.......
I was so unsuccessful.
I myself was really surprised to observe it.
My self-confidence suddenly cracked completely.
I had got injured 3 months later.
"You have made a lots of mistakes. You have been injured. So, you cannot be employed ."
I managed to keep me hanging by a hair saying, "I will do anything required. Could you please keep me employed for a moment ?"
The world of craftsmen would be similar to one of professional athletes.
It is quite obvious that quick or slow, good or bad.
Those who are very frequently injured would not be useless.
Of course, No one worries others.
Roles are taken by those who are able to complete.
Seniors do not train juniors.
Everyone else is rival.
You are supposed to complete jobs because you are professionals.
No one praise.
It was much tough.
And I really shamed myself.
However, I did keep same goal.
Absolutely, I will establish my own studio within 3 years.
I have decided to spend the longest hours in manufacturing furniture in Japan.
I have come in the studio the earliest and practice in tools including but not limited to planes and chisels.
I have decided to stay in the studio the latest to make my own works as well as practices every day.
I have decided to concentrate to furniture any time including during eating, transportation on trains, even sleeping if possible. I have decided to spend 20 hours a day o furniture.
I have decided to do something seriously for the first time in my life.
However, I continued to make mistakes and to be yelled.
"God, you suck. Go home. Do not show your face any more." The three levels of usage are observed every single business day.
It had never changed for one year.
One night additional 6 months had past.
About 22:00, I was self practicing after working hours as usual.
In order to save electricity, light was limited to my working area.
I could not see anything outside of 5 meter circle.
I was a bit scary to be honest, but, I had to concentrate to the practice.
Suddenly, I had happened to see a foot.
I was frozen with scared.
I was the master wearing pajamas.
"Are you still practicing ?"
"I apologize for it."
"You have been practicing for one and half years ! You have guts ! I expected you would give up within one year !"
I had praised for the first time since I started the training.
No. Given my no experiences to do something seriously other than making furniture, for the first time in my entire life.
I was so happy.
He returned to his house saying, "Keep practicing for another half year. Then, I will give you an environment."
Then, my work made in the practice after working hour was accepted in the craft exhibition hosted by Asahi Newspaper. It was demonstrated in Isetan in Shinjuku and Mitsukoshi in Nihonbashi.
Then, a half year has past. I have spent 2 years since I started the training.
There were announcements from grand master.
"I would like to start the development department for the first time in 50 years of operation of the workshop."
"I would like to leave it to Matsuoka from design to manufacturing it.
Oh my god ? What ?.
"Actually, there are conditions that brand new kinds of chairs need to be made in 3 days as the longest. Otherwise, he is immediately demoted."
Without clear consciousness, it had started raging days.
After come home, I drafted 6 design ideas.
In the morning, I presented them to the master.
We selected 2 of them and get started !!
In order to complete making them within a couple of days, it requires perfect plans and 10 hours concentration.
Mistakes are not allowed.
I had never stopped self-practice in the morning and late at night because I decided it.
Then, days have gotten awesome.
6:00 Waking up.
Commutation by train with drawing rough ideas of design whose completed versions will be finished in the night.
Next 20 minutes from the station to the company was spent on repeated image training of plans how to make them.
7:30 when arrived at the company, maintenance of tools and preparation of jobs.
8:30 stared working. It is not normal to make 2 kinds of brand new chairs in three days.
18:30 finished work. Then, I started self practices.
22:00 leaving office. On the way to the station by bicycle, I shove manufacturing plans for next day into my head.
In the train, drawing rough sketches of design to be finalized after coming home.
23:30 Come home and draw design.
2:00 went into sleep.
Repeated every day.
It was really happy days.
Looking back my entire career as craftsman of furniture, it was the best environment.
I realized my growing as if I re-born every day.
Sales people managed to sell my works, thus, contributing to the company.
I was happy to reward the master who gave me this opportunity and relieved.
A half year has past.
I have accustomed to the pace.
Are there better environment as a craftsman ?
I asked myself.
I have concluded it as the best as long as employed craftsman.
I would like to pursue higher stages as a craftsman of furniture.
I cannot help from becoming independent.
I wrote resignation letter on the same day.
The master, of course, was surprised.
"Are you frustrating this environment ?!"
"I would like to challenge more"
"I would increase your compensation."
"I do not need more money."
"Have yo gotten tired of it ?"
"You said 3 years of employed from the beginning."
"I am sincerely sorry."
It was really selfish but I was allowed to resign the company in several months.
The master appeared to feel so sad.
I just intended to seek more and more.
Immediately after my resignation, the master took the chairperson role and retired manufacturing furniture.
3years later, Hida Craft closed its business.
Since then, 13 years have been past.
Now I have to train employees.
Because of it, I understand it more clearly.
The master was supposed to feel strong sad.
I owe him, who gave me opportunities, my career as craftsman of furnitures.
Awesome days were so condensed giving me experiences being worth of several decades.
The picture above was taken when KOMA exhibition was held in the main stage locating in living goods sales floor of Isetan Shinjuku, where the master had also had memorable stories, in 2011.
I have invited him with my transportation service.
He appears to be happy.
I continue to make greetings at least once a year.
"I managed to run the company for 50 years because I have been able to appreciate others because I do not have any talents. How about you ? Are you able to appreciate others ?"
"If you feel tough, the company grows. If you do not feel any tough, the company is stagnant. That is your choice. Then, you should not complain about tough."
Every year, he gives me various advices.
Becoming 83 years old, the master has hard in hearing, thus, he almost never heard what I would like to convey.
So, I have never ask questions and / or make comments.
I just heard what he say with smiling.
Every year, I am afraid this year might be the last one.
So, I just listen to it and understand it.
This event once a year is really precious time so that I cannot leave his words without fully understand.
I paid his drinks for the first time in my life.
When we departed, he said, "Thank you very much for continuing to be solid craftsman."
It was really nice words I was grad to continue working on making furniture.
Under my interpretation, "succeeding techniques" would be returning to his favor.
Anyway, I really appreciate him.
As such, I had made my own company, while the hell was waiting.
Of course, thanks to helps from quite a few people, I would be able to run the company for 13 years.
Ahead of writing about 3rd person.
When I remember my training period, I would like to make furnitures.
Now, there are many other things I have to do, thus, I would not be able to concentrate it.
However, I have something to challenge.