Serial/Moving to Okinawa ③ Owner of "WOODVILLE HOUSE" Shinsaku Kimura's Case 1/4
post : 2014.05.01 16:00
Shinsaku Kimura, from Osaka, not only runs a shop called Woodville House on Route 58 in Ginowan City that deals in interior items and DIY supplies, but also has an interior decorating business.
Moving to Okinawa on his own at the age of 20, he performed lots of different jobs to support himself, and this led to getting his dream job and having his own store.
Iｔ has been 14 years since Mr. Kimura moved to Okinawa, and now, we will bring his story to you over 4 parts.
When and from where did you come to Okinawa?
Kimura: I’m from Osaka, and I came to Okinawa in 2000, so it’s been 14 years.
That’s quite a bit of time living in Okinawa! How old were you when you first came?
Kimura: The very first time, I came here for 3 months when I was 19 for a job. That was still before the Okinawa boom, and I had absolutely no idea what is was like and imagined it to be really countryside, so I was really reluctant to go on the business trip (laughs).
Originally I was thinking of getting away from Osaka and living abroad, but when I came that first time, the streets felt really exotic, and I thought it was like a foreign country too.
I started diving and was struck by the beauty of the ocean, and while I was going around central Okinawa by motorcycle with a friend, the warm climate and laid back atomsphere of a place like this started to feel really nice.
So after I went back home to Osaka, I decided to move here on my own when I turned 20.
I see. You said you went on business, but were you doing the kind of work you’re doing now?
Kimura: I’d been doing carpentry work since I was 16, and I was working as a contractor in Osaka.
At 16, you’re path in life was decided at a fairly early age.
Kimura: My grandfather and great grandfather were both carpenters, and opposite of my home there happened to be a lumber shop, so I naturally started doing home improvement work since I was little.
I was a kid who liked making things and drawing pictures.
So your path was decided naturally.
Did you prepare, like finding a place to live and a job, before coming here?
Kimura: For housing, I looked for a place by phone with a local real estate agency when I was in Osaka and came here after making a contract.
I had zero money saved, and I looked for a job when I got to Okinawa.
But when I came, there wasn’t any carpentry work.
So at first I managed to by working at beach and resort hotels and selling turmeric for an acquaintance.
So when you first came to Okinawa, you were doing work completely unrelated to carpentry!
Kimura: Exactly, but I sold quite a bit of turmeric.
And that was when it still wasn’t widely used like now.
When I sold some to the customers at my family’s hair salon after returning to Osaka, they said, “what, yer sellin’ poop?!” (In Japanese, the word “ukon”/turmeric sounds similar to “unko”/feces), and the neighborhood took to calling me “poopy” Kimura (laughs).
That’s very Osaka (laughs).
Kimura: So, in summer I did work as a beach staff member and stuff, and in the meantime I found a carpentry job.
It was a really local company in Itoman of about a dozen people doing interior work.
But, the first problem I ran into there was the language barrier.
You hadn’t come into much contact with the dialect when you moved here, but when you started that job, there were a lot of people who spoke more of the dialect?
Kimura: All the people at the company were locals, and there were quite a few older people too.
Everyone got together on payday, and at first I really had no idea what they were saying.
So I worked hard there for 2 to 3 years, got used to the dialect bit by bit, and decided to be independent. I was 23 then.
(Workers building a wood counter. The finished counter will used at the reception area of a beauty salon)
Thinking at first glance he’s the stubborn craftsman type, once you talk with him, Mr. Kimura gives off the impression of a very friendly, interesting man from Osaka.
First coming to Okinawa, he did lots of different work to make a living, and we felt his strength to live and keep on searching for a job he wanted to do.
Next time, we’ll ask about what happened after he became independent and started his own shop.
Address: 1-10-6 Oyama, Ginowan City
Hours: 11AM – 8PM
Closed on: Tuesdays
Okinawa CLIP Photowriter Sandy