While walking Honcho streets in search for some interesting places, I suddenly spotted a man making a violin in one of the many shop windows. Surprised, I decided to have a talk with the unknown master and walked towards a simple signboard in English, saying “Watanabe”.
...And I found myself in a somehow nostalgic atmosphere of a high-quality music instrument shop. Beautiful violins and violas are hanging on the walls, a book shelf with music-related encyclopedias and some classical European novels is standing right next to a table where a visitor can relax and read something while listening to famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin or some other classical pieces.
The owner, Mr. Masashi Watanabe, has just finished repairing a violin. “I rarely make violins by myself, basically I am repairing and tuning”, he explains. But it is possible to purchase great musical instruments from violin to cello from different countries - Japan, Germany, Czech republic, France - Mr. Watanabe strictly selects the best ones.
One of the violins on the wall is made by Mr. Watanabe’s father. “Do you play violin?” I ask him. “It is almost impossible to play music instruments and make them simultaneously, both activities need to much time”, says Mr. Watanabe. “But, at the same time, you need to know the right feeling, you have to understand the process of creating music to make a good violin. So, I can play a little."
He takes his father’s violin and gently touches its strings. The sound of violin, tender and sad, echoes in the small room. “The sound is the most important thing, after all”, says Mr. Watanabe. “That is why we always start with a consultation. I must understand what a person wants from the instrument, so I can offer the perfect one, or tune or repair an existing one.” So the process of purchasing a musical instrument is actually a process of finding a perfect match - a person and an instrument for a fruitful collaboration.
How is it with foreigners? “Unfortunately, my English is not very good, but I have some foreign customers, and somehow we communicate”, says Mr. Watanabe.
Maybe you’ve always had a dream of playing a violin, or a cello. Or maybe you played before and would like to start again. Or maybe you brought your instrument with you and right now you are in a search for someone whom you can entrust repairing of your treasure.
Our recommendation is “Watanabe”. A place where the strings live.
2–6–30 Honcho, Aoba, Sendai, Miyagi
Closed on Thursdays