This is the "Shoeshiner's Explorations" series. There are so many wonderful shoeshiners in the world! In this second installment of "Shoeshiner's Explorations," we present the second part of the story of Ryo Sudo, the only shoe polisher in Aomori, who was featured on NHK and opened his long-awaited new store.
What is your speciality in shoeshine?
The polish has to match the shoes. I personally don't like the mirror polish of Paraboots, but I always think it is important to polish shoes in a way that suits the oiled leather and the shoe itself. Therefore, I polish Paraboots slowly.
I used to be a fan of the natural shine of cordovan, but now I like the natural shine of cordovan, and I like to use goat hair to make it shine just a little bit. I decide how much or how little I want to shine depending on TPO.
Also, recently, I feel most comfortable with a polish that doesn't use much water. I like to shine the shoes all the way up to the vamp (instep) to make them shine slowly. Also, not many people do it, but it feels good to scrub the sole with a scissors stick to make it smooth and silky~! It is not only for the appearance, but it also makes sense to crush the surface of the leather to make it flexible and to keep moisture and oil in it, so that it will be more durable.
And we never refuse a customer's request. I believe it is the policy of a craftsman to do the best he can. I guess this is what I am particular about.
Are there any shoes or customers who have left a lasting impression on you?
Everyone has their own habits (laugh). One interesting customer is a biker who likes boots, and he has custom-made Red Wings with zippers and wears them to walk his dog and such.
When I asked him about the secret of aging, he said that he wears his Red Wings so much without worrying about the aging process, and it gives them a great taste. He applies Saphir light brown polish, which makes the color of the leather lighter than the original color, and it shines so much. He also said he brushes the leather properly every time. He said, "I feel bad if it doesn't shine when I put it away at home. He said he feels bad if it doesn't shine when he puts it away at home. He is such an aging expert.
I also had a customer in his late 30s who asked me, "These shoes are falling apart, can you clean them? He brought me a pair of Buttero shoes and I polished them with cream to give them a natural shine, and he was very happy. I was very happy that he got hooked on leather shoes and shoeshine after meeting me because he didn't seem like that kind of person at all.
What kind of store do you want to make in the future?
A store that people want to go to. A store where shoe lovers gather. I hope to make it a place where shoe lovers can get together and socialize. Aomori branch of Shoe Lover! I would also like to start a "Shoe Shine Club". I hear that many shoe lovers don't have anyone around them to talk about shoes, so I would like to gather people who like shoes.
By the way, the name of our store, Astla, comes from "Aomori shoeshine that looks amazing," which directly translates to "Aomori shoeshine that looks amazing" in Japanese, so we want to make Aomori's feet more beautiful! We are looking forward to making Aomori's feet happy!
Lastly, what is your recommendation for Brift H products?
It would have to be THE CREAM colorless! I think it's the best! I also put it on my hands in winter, and I keep it at home for cleaning my leather products, but I usually put it on my face and my wife says, "What are you doing! (laugh).
You can feel it really penetrate into the skin, and I don't think there is a better cream that you can use on anything. We have a lot of creams from other manufacturers, but I use them all the time.
This time, I visited her when she was still busy preparing for the opening of her new store, but I felt that Ms. Sudo is a very nice person with a big body, warm atmosphere, and a cute smile. Her challenge to brighten the footprints of Aomori, one of the world's heaviest snowfall areas, was very inspiring. I look forward to his future activities. Please visit Mr. Sudo when you are in Aomori♪