I Always Look at the Beautiful Snow Landscapes on My Seiko Watch
fiction, Jun. 2019
I put a piece of toast in the toaster and boil the water. I put butter on the baked toast and melt the instant cafe au lait powder.
After breakfast, I brush my teeth and change to the clothes I decided last night.
This is my morning routine. I have low blood pressure in the morning, so I do this routine automatically or unconsciously without thinking.
I finish my morning routine by putting on a watch; taking it from the tray, I feel that now I am ready for work.
“You know, Japanese watches are the most accurate.”
Saying this, my grandfather gave me a watch from his favorite watch brand, Seiko.
Seiko is a famous traditional Japanese watch brand over 100 years old, and also well known abroad.
Since I was a child, I liked my grandfather wearing a watch. He had collected many Seiko watches.
“Look at the watch plate. It represents snow in Hokuriku.”
One day my grandfather showed me his new watch. It had a white surface with a rough texture.
“Snow? But it doesn’t look totally fluffy. It’s rough like paper.”
When I asked him about this, my grandfather made a bitter smile and said, “You don’t know Hokuriku or the snow in harsh coldness.”
Hokuriku is a region in northwestern Japan, where there is a lot of snow in winter and is famous for skiing, like Niigata.
Although my grandfather was originally from Hokuriku, we didn’t have any relative living there anymore, so I’d never visited there.
His “snow watch” reminded me of his room, which was decorated with many pictures of snow mountains in his hometown. In the pictures, everything was buried in the snow, and I felt a complete silence. A blue sky spread over it.
I was only little, but I could easily imagine that it was a place where it would be extremely tough to live.
“After a snowfall, when a strong wind blows, the snow has a rough texture like this watch surface.”
He also explained that the beautiful snow pattern, the art of nature, appeared when the strong wind blew. It is literally called the “wind pattern” in Japanese (Fu-mon).
“The art of nature reappears in the small world, called a watch so that my grandpa wouldn’t miss his hometown.”
After I listened to his story, I thought about it.
Certainly, my grandfather would have grown up in the place where he had always felt the harsh coldness and the beautiful wind pattern.
He, who was usually very quiet and had never talked about his old times, talked about his watch because he might have wanted me to know his hometown. This time, I finally knew that behind his honesty and diligence he had such a beautiful but tough snowy environment.
After we stopped talking and became silent, we were looking at the watch hands running on the surface, as if the wind would be continuously blowing on the snow.
Today, my grandfather spends more time sleeping and resting at home and no longer wears the watch every day.
However, when I visit him, he still fixes the time and wears the same “snow watch” on his thinner wrist and says, “let’s go out for something delicious.” Then, looking at my watch he also tells me, “you wear such a good watch,” even though he forgot that it was the one he gave to me.
Although my watch surface was white, it was not an image of snow. Nevertheless, it always reminds me of the snowy landscape of Hokuriku and makes me get ready for the day.
With respect to my grandfather, I gave his same watch to my fiancé. Although he isn’t from Hokuriku, his honesty, diligence, and quietness are somehow the same as my grandfather’s.
“This watch is made from snowy landscapes in Hokuriku. The wind blows and makes such a beautiful pattern like this.”
I explained this to him in the same way my grandfather did to me.
He only muttered this and stared at the watch. He always became silent when he liked something very much, so the watch might be his favorite.
Soon I will start living with him. Surely, my morning routine or even my whole life could change.
Still, my watch which my grandfather gave me is always on my left wrist. And from now on, my fiancé will wear the same watch my grandfather wears.
Even as time passes, Seiko watches connect me and my grandfather and now make my fiancé and I become a family. After we get married, I’m thinking about visiting Hokuriku for our honeymoon.
Seiko “snow watch”:
Official site (only in Japanese)
Hokuriku(including Niigata, Ishikawa, Toyama, and Fukui) is one of the best destinations for tourists who love winter sports, hot spring, Japanese alcohol(sake), sushi and so on!
You can also enjoy traditional city landscapes in Kanazawa.
Writer. Lived in Hiroshima, Kyoto and Aichi. Loves local cities in Japan.