I frequented to a guitar shop in the south of Osaka city, where a luthier worked; he also had amateur students who wanted to make stringed instruments: guitars, violins, and cellos.
I happened to know the luthier, or a "sensei" in Japanese, through our band member, MM. MM and I have been friends from junior high. He told me that the craftsman seemed to be incredibly sensitive, and great at the same time. He also told me that the classical guitars that he made sounded extraordinarily.
On the next day, I went to see him. He had a handsome face with glaring eyes. Luckily he had a guitar that soon would go to a customer, and kindly let me try it out. Did it sound great! I wanted the kind of guitar on the spot. However, the guitar maker was whimsical, and didn't accept the order soon: I had to wait.
One day, when I had already abandoned ordering from him, I had a call. It was from the luthier. I wondered for a moment if he wanted anything.
He had difficulties in asking me if I have certain amount of money, and explained that he had a traffic accident, and wanted to settle it out of the court. If I give him the money he needed, he promised me that he would make me an expensive guitar with jacaranda, brazilian rose wood.
As years went on, I repeatedly went to his shop, but he repeatedly told me to wait with clumsy excuses. I almost abandoned reminding that I had paid for it.
Years went on again. I couldn't believe my ears, nor my eyes when I saw him becoming weak: his speech was unclear, unarticurated.
As the days went by, he got worse and worse, so much so that he had to write down what he wanted to say: the muscles on his neck lost strength, and his head was hung. All I could say was just to become well, so that he could use up all the precious wood which he and his father collected, pointing at a heap of rose wood. He looked smiled; the muscles on his face, too, had become out of his control.
It's true that I prayed for his quick recovery. But the next time I visited his atelier, he wasn't there: he was in the hospital. His disciple told me he repeated going in, and coming out of the hospital. And finally, it got so that he couldn't move, and had to stay in bed at home with a tube in his throat, I heard.
One fine day, I got a call; it was from his wife. She told me that my guitar was finished. At first I felt very anxious about what might have happened to the guitar maker, but anyway, I took my motor bike on the specified day.
When I arrived at the shop, the wife looked as if she was apologizing; the saddle and the bridge for the strings hadn't been attached. She immediately made a call to his husband asking what to do with the situation. His disciple should finish it. He promised he would finish it until such and such day, but as I waited and waited, I got no call. I just had to wait.
And finally, I got a call; it was finally finished by a "student" using ivory.
The guitar on the above is mine. I handed a thanks letter to the wife. It might be the luthier's last work. He still cannot move. I hope he gets well and comes back to the studio again, even if he cannot work anymore.