From Only One Bag A Life Could Start
fiction, Jun. 2019
I have a routine when I get on a train: I step onto the train with my right foot, and I do not sit down right away; rather I stand as far away from the door as possible.
The last one I should rather say is a “ritual”—to stare at a bag of any woman waiting for the train in front of me.
I never get used to taking the train to go to high school and always look for a woman, lining up in front of me because I feel uncomfortable to be surrounded by men in suits.
So, I would rather be comfortable standing stand near women, the same sex with me.
Still, everyone on the platform in the morning seems tense. This makes me nervous and I always look down.
What I can only see from my lower point of view is always a large bag, a woman carrying from her shoulder. Beautiful and designer alphabetical patterns on the beige or black bags somehow make me feel better.
Thus, to look for such a lady’s bag has become my ritual.
Kitasenju station (Tokyo), Chiyoda Line, platform one. Here I knew a lot of bags.
COACH, Saint Laurent, Michael Kors…..Little by little, I became familiar with high brands of bags.
Such a brand name is just like a magic spell that soothes my feeling, I always cast in my mind.
Gradually, my interest in bags shifted to their owners; after I get off the train and while I walk up the slope to school, I always imagine what kind of life the owner of a bag has.
It’s as if the lives of the owners would overflow one after another from bags.
Although there are a lot of people on the train, when I look at only one bag in front of me, it’s strange but everything else disappears from my sights—as if a thick fog would all clear up, or others besides the owner and her bag would get off the stage named a “train.”
Gradually, I began to enjoy going to school.
One day, a bag of a woman standing in front of me to wait for a train caught my eye.
Despite its basic design, it had a beautiful leather texture without any scratch, making her profile bright.
The owner of the bag seemed to be in her 30s. She tied her long hair up at a high position and wore a camel-colored thin trench coat.
She, the owner of such a nice bag, would surely also own a wonderful life. She must be a woman who is self-sustaining, socially and mentally independent, and who never cares about what others think of her.
Having such a thought, I realized that I was just pushing my ideal to her and became embarrassed.
I stopped looking at her and turned my face down, but she never noticed me and just got off the train at Otemachi Station, where many companies had offices and it was known as a “business city.”
It was only after I started to work that I knew that the bag at that time was from a long-established brand, Tsuchiya Kaban.
When I found the same in the store, I immediately wanted to have it, but it was more expensive than I imagined as a high school student.
So, it took six more years to earn money to buy the bag. It was also for twelve years when I first saw the bag.
I was now 28 years old.
I put the bag on my shoulder for the first time today.
©2019 Tsuchiya Kaban
As usual, I wore a thin trench coat, tied my hair together, and looked at myself with a bag in front of the entrance. Somehow, my appearance reminded of the woman I saw on that day.
“What kind of person was she truly? At that time, she seemed far away from me, but now she seemed familiar.”
Thinking about such a thing, I took a step out to the platform of Otemachi Station.
©2019 Tsuchiya Kaban
Photography cooperation: Tsuchiya Kaban, at Jiyugaoka store, Tokyo
Once you enter the store, you will immediately feel the smell of leather—Tsuchiya Kaban is a long-established bag manufacturer that started with making bags for elementary school kids in Tokyo, 1965.
It was around 2000 that it began to make products for adults based on customers’ feedback; “we also wanna have one.”
The bag in the article is from “Tone Oil Nume” series, which is popular among a wide generation.
“We do not insist on the bag itself but we want to enrich and put a spot on the life of the person who possesses the bag.” This is how this series is produced.
In the beginning, parents gave school bags of Tsuchiya Kaban as gifts.
Today, there are also a variety of products, and many people choose them as presents for their partners or parents.
“Tone Oill Nume” series (in Japanese):
Writer. Born in 1987, Ibaraki prefecture. Mainly writes novels.
essay, Jun. 2019
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fiction, Jun. 2019