Sunday, November 08, 2009


When I was a kid, I gradually learned that there were all kinds of people in society. Some are bad, but they are so with some reason, and often not without a charm. Everyone is eager to live. That was one of the first lessons in life. And I keep it.

When I was about 10, I was alone at home. The door bell rang. When I opened it, I saw a man dressed in black suit outside.
"Is your mom home?" he said. I said no. "Is your papa home?" he asked. I said no. "Is anybody around?" he continued. I answered again in the negative.

Then his face became suddenly eager, all his attention apparently being concentrated on me.

"You know, son", he started. "I work for a watch company. And the company went bankrupt. I have some very expensive watches with me. They normally retail for tens of thousands yen. But I have to make money somehow. You must have your pocket money, son. Here's a very lucky proposition. For you, it would be just 1000 yen. How about it, son? Would you like to buy it? Your mom and dad will be delighted"

The man showed me a watch. There was a logo on the face. "Longtimes", it said. "This is a very famous brand", the man assured. "You are very lucky to have this watch just for 1000 yen."

At that time, I knew nothing about watch brands. Some years later, I learned that there is a famous brand "Longines". The "Longtimes" watch was clearly a fake. And a very primitive one, too.

Although I did not possess the knowledge, I said "No, thank you." to the man. Kindly, but with a firmness that a 10 year old can command. There was something oily about the man which I mistrusted. Luckily, the man was not insistent. Maybe he thought I did not have the money with me. He shrugged his shoulders and went off. Although the man was apparently a swindler, I did not dislike the person.

To this day, I vividly remember the logo "Longtimes" on the watch. It has been literally "long times" since that childhood day. It is very strange to say so, but sometimes I wish I had bought the watch. Then perhaps I could have commemorated something. The vulnerability of life, the gullibility of the deceiving, and perhaps the pang that must accompany all living on this earth.


U.Shima said...

I like this essay, especially the title.
Though the man who tried to deceive a child is bad, he charms me with a lack of strategy for his life.

" Longtimes " is separated into "long times" correctly, and a fake of the word seems to be solved after a long time.
But " Longtimes " wears an air of dignity yet, honeyed ambiguity reigns over this island country.

The boy wisely mistrusted the swindler, and what was more, he regarded him as a human being instinctively.
Most of us can tell what is right and what is wrong.
Nevertheless some turn to wrongs, others are beguiled simply.
It is also strange to say so, crimes are treasuries of humanity.
I love this essay.
Thank you for an entry during the trip.

Anonymous said...

i agree, he charms me also, with a lack of strategy for his life. He seems to be more vulnerable person. It seems to me that he sensed something ... this means, i am not sure but for example, your healthier life, that was, he had never experienced before.
(sorry, my broken english..)

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