Antique Shop『BEAR』 - Chapter 52
Chapter 52 – Mystery Camera
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
The owner’s words brought Kuma to his senses.
“The previous owner was very careful with it.”
“This camera costs 100,000 yen, including the telephoto lens. The warranty period is six months. Actually, I’d like to give you a full year, but I’ve decided to close the store in another six months, so how about 80,000 for the bonus?”
It’s within my budget. But this should be fairly expensive to begin with. And now you’re offering a discount? Even 100,000 from the initial price is an unprecedented price.
“That’s way too cheap…”
“Of course, it’s not junk. I can guarantee the camera for six months. Why don’t you try it?”
Kuma hesitated briefly before heading toward the entrance and clicking the shutter. A crunching sound sounded soothing. The photo was clear and the light and shadows were overwhelmingly beautiful on the screen. Since it was a digital camera, it was simple to take a photo without any confusion.
“You can manually adjust the focus and perspective, and you can also adjust the blur. It also has a night view mode.”
When Kuma was distressed, the store owner began to talk while putting the camera back on the shelf.
“You can come back if you feel like it.”
“But it might sell out, right?”
“Well, yes. But I can’t reserve it.”
While Kuma was puzzling over this, an elderly couple entered the store.
“Excuse me, I’m Arashiyama, the one who asked to be photographed.”
“Welcome. Please have a seat here.”
The owner led the elderly couple to the back room.
Kuma headed for the shelves again. Originally, he had planned to buy the latest domestic SLR camera. But if he didn’t get this one, he would regret it. He felt an unusual amount of pressure from the camera.
“Excuse me!” Kuma called out to the shopkeeper, louder than he expected. “I’m buying this camera.”
The owner hurriedly came out from the back and looked at Kuma in astonishment. “Thank you. I’ll prepare it for you.” The owner carefully packed it and put it in a paper bag. “Then it will be 80,000 yen.”
Kuma tentatively took out the money from his wallet. “Certainly. I’ll keep it.”
The owner smiled as he put the money into the register and wrote the coverage period on the back of the receipt. “As of today, it will last six months. If you don’t know how to use it or have any problems, please feel free to drop by anytime. I’ve included a piece of paper with the store’s phone number, so you can contact me as well.”
“I understand. Thank you very much.”
Kuma left the photo studio with a feeling of elation that he had never felt before. As soon as he stepped outside, a strong wind swept past him and he gripped his camera bag tightly. It had been a clear day when he arrived, but now the black clouds were drawing closer and the sky was gloomy.
“I wonder if a rain will fall…” Kuma rushed to the station.
When he arrived at his house, the cloudy weather he had encountered earlier had cleared up like a lie.
“What the heck. I was in such a hurry to get home.”
When he attempted to take photos in his room, Kuma looked into the lens of the camera with great satisfaction at the beauty of the images, which was incomparable to the digital camera he had been using. He was already a captive of the camera.
Thereafter, Kuma began to spend his days off from work and at dawn on photography sessions. In particular, he liked to go to Sakurada Minami Park at dawn to take photos. The water surface reflecting the morning sun; birds and insects perched on trees. Birds and insects perched on trees. During the night, he would capture the stars and the moon, immersing himself in photographing the scenery. Moreover, he challenged himself repeatedly to take pictures of the streets in front of Hosho Station, where he worked part-time, which still retained the atmosphere of the Edo period until he was content with the results.
It was a certain evening. On that day, Kuma was visiting the Tenmangu Shrine near his house for a photography session. It was common for the locals to come to Tenmangu Shrine for the Shichi-Go-San (Seven-Five-Three) festival, to ward off evil spirits, and to pay homage to the gods.
There was no priest or miko (priestess) at the shrine that day, so he took photos of Tenmangu alone. As he went around the back of the shrine to snap photos of the komainu (guardian dogs), the screen of his camera turned red.
It was impossible to see through the lens. Kuma was astonished when he inspected the image he had taken. The guardian dogs showed up as reddish-black. The actual guardian dogs were made of stone, so they were blackish gray.
Kuma clicked the shutter again, but the photo of the guardian dogs was reddish-black as if they had been sprayed with paint. He enlarged the image and checked it, but he was not sure what had happened. Wondering what it was, Kuma put the camera in his bag and went home.
Once at home, Kuma took out his camera and reviewed the photos from when he first took them, erasing the blurry ones one by one since he had taken so many that his SD card was full. Suddenly, a photograph from Sakurada Minami Park caught his attention. It was a photo of the playground equipment surrounded by the early morning glow. There was a large playground in the shape of a ship for children to play on in a large open space of grass. The ship had a roller slide, a jungle gym, and a boulder ring attached to the hull, and on weekends, children would crowd together to play. Next to the playground equipment, an object that clearly resembled a human figure could be seen in the photo. Although a close-up of the human figure revealed that it was unclear whether it was a person or an animal, if it had been a person lying on the ground, it would have been noticed and reported to the police immediately.
He checked the other photos, but the only ones that showed anything unnatural were the one of the park and the one of the Tenmangu Shrine today. Putting away his camera, Kuma took out his summer vacation project that he hadn’t worked on for a long time and started on it.
Support Fan’s Translations
Note: Individual translators usually have their own ko-fi buttons.