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SPECIAL EDITION

MAKING TRUCK
1996-2009

BUDDY

19961996

This is our Laborador pup Buddy, the store's poster boy. He was always by our side, watching over TRUCK. Before we opened TRUCK, we were so into blues music that at one point we seriously considered opening a blues bar. On the jacket of a record from our collection called "STONE CRAZY", there was a picture of Buddy Guy playing his guitar. His eyebrows looked just like our good-natured Lab's – and so we named him "Buddy". Naturally, when Buddy had a son, he too got his name "Junior" from a blues musician – Buddy Guy's harmonica-playing partner, Junior Wells.

TRUCK

We made our home, store, and workshop from rooms in a shabby old building that we renovated ourselves. Even though at the time we had never even heard of the word "renovation", we jumped right into it, doing whatever we thought we needed to. Between the two of us, it took a solid month to change the old interior. We tore things down, added paint, removed the flooring and installed plumbing… everything we did, we put all of our effort into. By the end, we were sleepless, covered in dust, exhausted, and poor – but it was all worth it. To us, nothing was more fun or more satisfying than creating our own space.

Before we made the shop on the first floor, we set up our living space on the second floor. We stripped the interior walls and simply threw a layer of white paint over the bare concrete. It was in this space that we took a lot of our photos and where three of our catalogs were born. The way we made our catalogs was also a bit unconventional in that we didn't rent out a studio space or hire a professional photographer to take the photos – we chose to do it all ourselves. Although we were amateurs, taking pictures in our own way somehow seemed more original and fresh.

January 1997, the opening of TRUCK. The first floor of the store was about 126 sq. meters. We used the 66 sq. meter space facing the street for the store where we displayed the furniture and put the workshop in the remaining space in the back, accessible from a single sliding door. The sounds from the workshop in the back would carry throughout the store. At the time, the internet wasn't very widespread so we didn't have a website. We didn't make any particular announcements about the opening of the store, either. We didn't even have a register – we just put cash into a Tupperware container. (In fact, we kept using the Tupperware container to store money until 2004!)

TRUCK AREA2

In 1999, we opened TRUCK AREA 2.
Because the workshop space in TRUCK was so narrow, we rented out another space, a three-story building on the street behind it. In the same way as before, we fixed it up ourselves, but this time we were doing the work on the new space while simultaneously operating the store. Little by little, at night after we closed the store or on our days off, we would work on the renovations. Because we couldn't make any other time, it took six whole months before it was ready to open.

The first floor of Area 2 was the workshop, the second floor was the finishing room and storage room, and the third floor was the store. Buddy was always sleeping comfortably on one of the beds on display. Sometimes he would join customers on the sofa and relax, and sometimes the customers would play with him. He made the atmosphere of the space feel more warm and cozy.

The entrance of Area 2, with its bright gathering of plants at the front, was called "The Breathing Space." Next to the entrance there was suddenly a set of steep stairs – you would think they led to the store, but once you got to the top you would find that instead of a store, there was a workshop. It wasn't until you looked down the side of the workshop, saw yet another staircase, and wheezed your way up it that you would at last enter the store on the third floor. Why would we put our store in such a difficult place for customers to get to? It was because initially, we mostly needed Area 2 for extra workshop and storage space and not necessarily for another store.
Ordinarily we would have put the store on the first floor facing the street, but we chose to make having a workshop with machines the priority. We didn't intend it to be, but TRUCK ended up being known as "the furniture store where you can see the makers' faces."

SHIROKUMASHA

Shirokumasha
When we made sofas with TRUCK's original "Furrowed Leather", we were left with a lot of scrap pieces that we thought would be a waste to just throw away. We decided to reuse and make little accessories out of them.
For everything from belt pouches to cellphone cases to wallets, we stitch them together by hand. Because we work with scrap leather, the surface has marks and the uncut, natural edges are uneven, so even items of the same shape and design each have a different look. On top of that, the more that they are used, the more their color and character change and deepen over time.

TRUCK NEST

20082008

At last, the construction on our new space in Asahi-ku had begun. We had finally found the place where we could spend our days surrounded by trees. It took about 4-5 years of searching before we found it; afterwards, we spent a year planning and another year and a half constructing it before we could open it. Everything, including the the four buildings – the store and the workshop, Bird and the storage area, Shirokumasha, and our home – and their big steel frame windows, plus all of the trees over 10 meters tall and the brick walls, was put together by ourselves from the ground up.

Ever since we started TRUCK, we thought that it would be nice if there was a space where our customers could relax and maybe enjoy a cup of coffee. We used the relocation of the store as our chance to create our cafe, Bird, which we also built by ourselves. Over the course of eight months, we worked on the building, doing things like painting the walls and putting down the flooring. When we finally installed the window frames, it felt like the whole place had come together at once.

2009.122009.12

Here, at this store, everything started. It's the place that we worked hard and created from nothing; from zero. It was sad for us to leave it, but we did it so we could move forward. This is our last family photo of us, our then three-year-old daughter, and Buddy, all together before the big move.

In December of 2009, surrounded by trees in the place that we had put together from our many thoughts and imaginings, TRUCK and Bird were opened anew.