【English Sub】第2弾!ロンドンで働く日本人アンティーク修復師/【Interview】 Japanese antique restorer in London part 2

Hello! This is Akiko. This is the second part of the last video. If you are interested, Please check this video, too. The link of the video is in the description below. Please check. If you are interested in antiques and study in England, Don’t miss it! Let’s go! Now for the next question. What is the best way to become a restorer? Becoming a restorer? In the UK? Many viewers might be interested in this subject. In this country? It’s not only in UK. Do you find furniture restoration? business in Japan? As far as I know, there weren’t any business in the late 90’s. But I heard that there is a furniture restoration school in Japan now. After graduate from that school, is there any chance to become a restorer? It’s difficult to say “Yes”. Because it’s the same situation in this country. The majority of people think that a degree in restoration / conservation is the golden ticket to becoming a restorer but reality is that it’s extremely hard. Oh dear…. That’s bad news for viewers. A degree course is only three years and we learn a huge range of techniques and skills but it’s not intensive. The degree is very good starting point but not enough to become a competent restorer. It’s always hard to get a job as restorer even before Brexit. Plus, it’s not easy to live and get a job as immigrant restorer in UK. Therefore, if someone has an outstanding techniques or skills, that’s helpful to get a job. I guess this video’s viewers are mostly Japanese. I highly recommended to do the best performance on whatever you do. You might work for a horrible company but there is always something you could learn from the experience. Basically, people shouldn’t go abroad if they don’t like to be there. People should feel “That’s it!!” moment then think about next the step.
Such as learning abroad. That’s so true. “Learning abroad” doesn’t automatically means having an ideal life. Generally, positive minded and skilful people have a higher chance of getting a job and to build up their career in any country. That’s why I highly recommend getting work experiences and skills before moving out from Japan. Bring it on, viewers!! I have another question for you, Aki. You told me that you have got a restoration / conservation of furniture degree in UK. I guessed it was hard to get it as English is your second language. When you were a student what hard things did you do during a term? There were many hard subjects on my course. Where can I start…. This is my total guess but how about technical words of restoration and conservation also, conservation requires the knowledge of chemistry, doesn’t it? Now I remember!! Yes, there were lectures and exam for it and it wasn’t a multiple-choice exam like in Japan. Only two questions and we have to write on a blank paper. We don’t have that type of exam in my generation in Japan as you know, so it takes a while to get used to do that. Is it like a writing short essay? Yes, I have to write about how to restore this furniture with the knowledge of material science. I knew that I would struggle to write during an exam, so I merely memorising all sentences which we learnt from chemistry lectures. And also I recorded all lectures with “Tape recorder” which I believe no one uses nowadays. I used to repeatedly listen to it at home. My Uni’s library opens until 10pm at night and I study there almost every nights. I feel bad to say this to my parents but I went to this Uni with my savings, therefore, I studied harder than my previous Uni which my parents paid for four years. I must make something out of my second degree, so I studied harder than ever!! Did you have a part time job when you were student in UK?
No, I didn’t have one. Thankfully, my Father gave me financial support in order for me to concentrate on studying I even said “No” to his offer at the beginning. Unfortunately, my savings were running low quickly because of the high cost of living and piece of materials and tools including furniture for yearly projects. I was shocked how expensive it was to live in the UK!! How many years did you save for it? 3-4 years. I was still living at home because it helped me with my saving for Uni. Also my job was so intense which meant I didn’t have time to catch up with my friends.
That helped me to save money. What kind of job did you have? I worked for a company which sold and restored English furniture in Tokyo. It was a good experience. Oh, what was the question you asked? What were the hardest things whilst a student in the UK, I think? I financially managed and studied hard through the years. My knowledge of art from my degree in Japan helped me a lot for my study the UK. But it wasn’t enough to write essays. “Writing” is harder than communicating with people. I had to write essays every semester. Fortunately for me, my kind and helpful friends always corrected my English grammar. We are still in touch. You are very lucky to have these friends. The hardest thing was, I had to write essays after a long day at Uni. Sounds like you were a very busy student. I would have struggled to write even in Japanese!! But overall, I did enjoy my student like in the UK. Let’s move to the next question. What motivates you to work on antiques? The history of antiques attracts me. Japan is an expendable country, specially when I was growing up “Bubble era” . (1980 ~ 1990) People usually didn’t fix broken appliances instead they just replaced it with brand new products. A lot of English people culturally respect antiques and are willing to care their cultural heritage. And I appreciate the opportunities to work on precious antiques. It teaches me how craftsmen had worked on the objects or furniture. For example, a repeated pattern’s quality drops towards the end which shows this craftsman is in a hurry to finish it. This person might be told to finish as soon as possible by their boss or he is doing piece work. Just like we all have same experience at our work place. It is fun to find a story. I have got another example. When I worked on a large Japanned cabinet the fronts and the sides decoration’s quality was completely different. It’s the same as large oil paintings. Usually the master worked on the major part of the canvas such as the central area and the minor parts were done by another craftsman / painter. Now slightly changing the subject. I worked on a Japanned dresser last year. One of the human figures had a distinguish moustache just looks like Freddie Mercury from Queen. It’s really fun to look at and finding a craftsmen’s unique imagination. Sounds like stepping back into the history!! Sounds like stepping back into the history!! How was it? We enjoyed talking. Next video will be the last part of the series. Please also check next video. If you like this video, please click the “LIKE” button. Please consider subsclibe. Good bye!

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