When you look at the façade of the main building, you see an appealing face, a blend of new eaves and old-fashioned Japanese kanji characters that spell out the store’s name. And you know you’re going to see some unusual features inside. So come in and look around!
As you enter, the first thing you notice is the skill of the original builders in fitting a structure into a narrow wedge of land. There are odd angles everywhere. The interior is like a geometry class gone wild. But there’s nothing wild about it; everything fits perfectly for a building that couldn’t be rectangular. Challenged by an odd-shaped lot, the builders created an odd-shaped design that delights the eye and defies the tsunami.
An ancient clock on the far wall catches your eye – and your ear; it’s still ticking. It, too, is a survivor, counting the minutes and hours since around 1900. In the great fire of the Taisho era, it was the first thing rescued from the building. When the second great fire raged during the Showa era in 1929, only the clock and a small family altar were saved. A nine-year-old boy carried the clock on his back to safety at a relative’s house. Then on March 11, 2011, the deadly tsunami drowned this room to the ceiling. When the water retreated, the old clock was found on the floor, caked with mud but eager to tick again. It has counted the hours ever since.