Antique Shop『BEAR』 - Chapter 51
Chapter 51 – Mystery Camera
Today was another leisurely day at the shop. Kuma polished the lens while waiting for customers to show up. After polishing for a while, he attached the lens and looked through the viewfinder to capture a shot of the store.
The shelves on either side of him were so blurred that he could hardly see them, and involuntarily he muttered to himself. Only the lights on the ceiling were clearly visible.
He was amazed at how many items he had gathered. As Kuma stared at the camera, he remembered “Haneda Photo Studio”.
This camera was purchased during the summer vacation of his freshman year of high school. With the money saved up from his part-time job, he was eventually able to buy this precious… and special camera.
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August 5th, 14 years ago
Kuma was on his way home after finishing his part-time job at a bookstore within Hosho Station. The bookstore was a great place for Kuma, a book lover, to work, mainly as a cashier and stocker.
Once his lunch was finished, he cycled to the nearest station and headed for Sakura Chuo Station, where an electronics retail store was located. This was the only prosperous downtown area in the area. Although it was summer vacation, the electronics store was empty on a weekday. Since he had a lot of information about SLR cameras from browsing in the bookstore, he called up the clerk first and asked for advice. Upon asking if the price could be reduced mildly, the clerk looked down at him, a high school student and said, “Hmmm. It’s a little difficult,” with a straight face. When Kuma left the camera section to look at other stores, the clerk was flattering the other customers.
Afterward, he moved to a large shopping mall to check the prices of cameras and then proceeded to a fast food store in the mall to drink a Coke while checking the Internet prices of cameras. Having reconsidered that the Internet was the most affordable way to obtain a camera, he wondered if there were any other stores that sold cameras, and came across a camera store about 20 minutes walk from there. Thinking it would be a good opportunity to visit, he gulped down the Coke and exited the place.
The sun was beating down on and it was considerably hot. Sweating, he passed through the downtown area and entered a narrow alleyway. There were coffee shops and second-hand bookstores in the alleyway, but as the alleyway became lined with old houses and closed stores, he was about to turn around when the store appeared.
“Haneda Photo Studio”
The building was a reddish-brown brick structure with a sign hanging under the dark green roof. The store was a traditional photo studio with old photos displayed on the glass windows. Looking through the large glass-windowed door at the entrance, he spotted an elderly man sitting behind the cash register, with cameras lined up on a shelf near the wall. Kuma opened the door timidly.
The owner was sitting alone behind the cash register counter. The interior was dark, with only a single small light suspended from the ceiling.
“Do you have an appointment?”
“Oh… no, I’m here to have a look at the… cameras.”
“If you’re looking for a camera, you’ll find it on the shelf over there.”
When Kuma glanced at the shelf in the direction indicated, his eyes widened. Classic cameras were lined up in a row. A film camera, a twin-lens reflex camera, and the single-lens reflex camera he always desired. All of them were classic cameras that he had seen in books and magazines.
“Excuse me… are all of them available to use?”
The owner turned to him grinning. “Of course. Shall I get them out?”
“Classic cameras are great once you get used to them. You do need film, though, because it’s not digital.”
“The data cannot be imported into the computer at… right?”
“Ah… I’m already yearning for…”
“I have a selection of cameras from the early SLRs. But do you want a new camera, sir?”
“Yeah, I guess so. I want to upload them to my computer. …”
“In that case, you might strike a bargain.”
The owner pulled out a black camera from the bottom shelf. It was a simple, old-fashioned, slightly larger camera, unlike today’s more elaborate cameras.
“This is Lyle’s DSLR camera.”
“It’s a German camera. You know it?”
“It’s great, isn’t it? It’s digital and you can connect it to your computer. The quality is second to none, no matter how many new cameras are released.”
“But I can’t afford…”
The owner raised the corner of his mouth and eyed Kuma, before taking the camera set and placing the camera on the register table.
“Take a look.”
Kuma was wary, feeling as if he were being roughly solicited, but the owner laughed.
“Don’t look at me like that. I’m not pushing you to buy anything.”
Kuma seated himself on a chair in front of the cash register.
“Take a look through the lens, please.”
The owner handed over the camera and he nervously accepted it. The weight of the camera was heavy. Compact and lightweight cameras were the mainstream these days, but it felt heavy as if a telephoto lens was attached. The moment he looked into the lens, he was at a loss for words due to the clarity and beauty of the view, which far exceeded his expectations.
It was as if the camera itself was alive and adjusting the darkness and light on its own.
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