Watching This Man Restore Old Books Is Mesmerizing

Especially considering the widespread popularity of e-books, something is very special about borrowing or owning a well-loved, physical book. The spine is worn from repeated reads, pages creased from dog-eared important passages, smelly from days spent in existence. Although we adore these artifacts in their tattered reality, imagine their renewed glory with a little facelift. One Japanese man specializes in restoring old books. Okano Nobuo has worked over three decades honing his craft, taking a calculated, careful approach to smooth wrinkles and other damages. In his demonstration video, we have the special treat of watching Nobuo in action with a highly sentimental object: a father's long-owned Japanese-to-English dictionary meant to be restored and given to his daughter.

Nobou's tactics are anything but rushed or modern. His tool belt contains very primitive, archaic devices like chisels and tweezer. With the dictionary, he detached and individually ironed each of the 1,000 pages. He erased all signs of use—including the time-aged purple edges and crumpled corners—to present something that looks fresh off the shelf. It's crisp and clean, and the fact that it was well-loved previously is the best part—because it's a secret. I cannot imagine how painfully tedious this process may be, but it seems to be a very zen, relaxing process for Nobou. I guess you gotta be a chill-souled human to be able to start with something like this:

Then do stuff like this:

To make one helluva transition. Seriously, here's a side-by-side comparison to highlight Nobou's badass mastery of book restoration:

Check out Nobou's entire ride with the dictionary below:

A magical transition, no doubt—and certainly not without expert patience. I want Nobou on my post-apocalypse time. He is surely an honorary master of that coveted virtue. Just look at him:

::happy sigh::

Images: payitforwardphotos/Flickr; YouTube (3)