Following Mothership’s piece on Yishun cobbler, Yamaguchi Taro, Shin Min Daily did a follow-up story on April 27, 2014, about how the 65-year-old cobbler has been sharing a closer bond with his older daughter, Yamaguchi Yoko, ever since she became his apprentice in September last year.
In the interview, they shared some light-hearted moments over the state of some customers’ footwear. Yamaguchi senior said that although they believe there are no shoes they cannot mend, the condition of some shoes is just atrocious.
The older of two daughters, Ms Yamaguchi, 39, spent eight years working as a receptionist and three years as a property agent. She said that she did not enjoy her property agent job due to the irregular hours and unstable salary.
While she was feeling lost about her career, her mother suggested that she could follow her father and join him in the cobbler business.
She now spends some four hours daily at her father’s makeshift stall at Yishun Bus Interchange with an aim of setting up her own stall in a wet market, mending shoes and making keys.
She had her doubts at first: She had been used to a comfortable life and wasn’t sure if she could mend shoes all day long. But seeing how her father managed to single-handedly support a family of five for the past 23 years just by being a cobbler, she eventually decided to give it a shot.
Yamaguchi’s younger daughter, a 35-year-old babysitter, will soon join the family business. He has a son who is 27 years old.
Yamaguchi added that his daughter is not ready yet and still needs another six months to sharpen her skills. With the help of her mother who helps to babysit her two children aged five and seven years old, Ms Yamaguchi is confident she can spend more time tending to the business.