Job at a Sweetshop
I had to look for a new part-time job as I had left Kubo when I moved, though I would return two years later. First, I found a sweetshop a few minutes from my apartment. A family ran the shop for a few generations. I had thought selling sweets must be easy enough. When I went for training, I realized it required far nimbler fingers than the ones I was equipped with.
Japanese have a tendency to overwrap food, but it is particularly excessive when it comes to Japanese sweets. Each cake is wrapped in a plastic pouch, a dozen or so of which are then stored neatly in a box, which is wrapped in a high-quality wrapping paper, which is put in a beautiful paper bag. Some salespeople would insert a few paper pouches inside the bag in case the customer wants to distribute the cakes to other people.
The owner’s wife showed me how to wrap a box of cakes with a sheet paper. The paper didn’t look large enough to cover the box, but she placed the box a little askew, and her hands made some swift moves around it, and voila! The box was sleekly wrapped with hardly any margin. Absolutely no crease. She asked me to do as she did. What I did was to copy the moves of her hands. Swish, swish! What came out was a crumpled paper, much worse than a hand-wrapped birthday present. I got nervous around customers. I had to calculate the change quickly and made a mistake.
I felt stupid and useless when the owner’s wife told me I didn’t have to come back. She said it was because they needed someone who could work on Saturdays, but I knew that couldn’t be the real reason.
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