修理、魅せます – Fascinating Repairmen– is, I’m sure, a nice skill to have but in this case it’s not an unusual talent or the first scene of an erotic film. Instead it’s the title of a Japanese series celebrating craftsmen and craftswomen who give new life to various old objects. This one is about a Tokyo bookbinder called Nobuo Okano and his process of restoring a much loved and therefore fairly well trashed English-to-Japanese dictionary. Its owner’s daughter is starting university and he wants to pass it on to her, so Okano does what he can to rescue and regenerate the book.
It’s a fascinating process, and you don’t really need to speak Japanese to appreciate what’s going on. The incidental music’s a bit overpowering, but it goes with the Japanese territory. About the only relevant information you can’t get just from watching is the client actually being quite pleased that the restoration will obliterate the embarrassment of his high school girlfriend’s initials still being written on the side (though you probably won’t miss the narrator triumphantly saying “sayonara” as the ex is amputated), and that it took Okano about four hours to re-flatten all 1000 dog-eared pages with tweezers and a small iron.
PS: Don’t try ironing or guillotining the edges off your Kindle if it stops working correctly.
PPS: Here’s a link to a playlist of another 13 episodes. Repairs to jeans, soft toys, ceramic statues, and old photographs, among others.
… but please don’t make them into lamps after poking their eyes out with scissors. Especially on a children’s TV show in Sweden, unless you want to cause a storm in a teacup. Via Metafilter, a Norwegian site reports (do I detect a hint of anti-Swedish glee?) that “Swedish children’s TV channel is forced to remove clip of doll murder.“
Luckily (for them) Sweden is so utopian that some people have nothing better to worry about than dolls being mutilated on a TV show for children, Philofix, complaining vociferously that it was “perverse”, “macabre” and “crazy”, and that the presenter should be dismissed. Clearly these people have never met a real child or they’re a very long way from their own childhoods, because otherwise they’d know that many children adore this kind of business and need no encouragement or instruction whatsoever in play-sadism with any vaguely humanoid figure. Given half a chance they’ll fuck up a doll in ways that make presenter Rakel Wärmländer’s interventions with scissors seem very tame. This project definitely is perverse, macabre and crazy… but guess what? Children are perverse, macabre and crazy too. What’s wrong with being perverse, macabre and crazy anyway?
Not to mention that– old lefty that I am– I think it’s preferable for a child to know that the world is there for them to learn from, tinker with and enjoy in their own private and individual way instead of just passively accepting objects and products as they are given, and never doing anything without permission.
Watch Rakel get medieval on a doll’s ass below. UPDATE: What a shame, the miserable bastards have purged it from YouTube already.