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Summer’s Style Starts at Your Feet! Shima Zori Flip Flops with Twinkling Stones are Available from Chindamiya
post : 2019.06.20 06:00
With names like, “If You Were Here”, “Doorway to Summer”, “Eternal Love”, “Do Cats Dream of Bananas”, and “Tears of the Moon”…these titles may lead you to think they’re titles of novels or dramas.
I first came across these flip flops (known locally as Shima Zori or “island sandals”) with carvings and twinkling stones imbedded into them, at a shop called Tan Tan. This shop offers a variety of handmade goods made by local artists and creators. I loved these flip flops so much that I decided to go see the person who made them. The maker of the flip flops has a shop called Chindamiya, located near the Makishi Public Market.
The creator of these special Shima Zori sandals is Kayo Uchiyama, a Kumamoto native. She spends her days at her shop and studio passionately creating her pieces. She came to Okinawa to attend university, and says with a giggle, “I intended to move back to Kumamoto after I graduated, but I was comfortable here, so I stayed.”
Upon graduating from university, she worked in the social welfare field and then as a temporary employee at a municipal office. When she decided to find different line of work, she thought to herself, “I want to do something that I really enjoy!” And so she pursued a path as an illustrator, something that she did for a long time as a hobby. She says, “I’m the type that really gets into something quickly, and then gets bored with it just as quickly. Except for drawing. I’ve always loved to draw and kept at it or a very long time.”
In Okinawa, everybody owns a pair of Shima Zori, and so she began carving out illustrations on flip flops and selling them. It was a friend who triggered an idea when they asked, “Is it possible to embed stones into Shima Zori?” And that’s how her style of flip flops all began, with illustrations and imbedded stones.
Her line of flip flops with twinkling stones are very popular, especially with her female customers who want to enjoy fashion and style that’s a little hidden. Some of her customers love the work so much that they don’t wear them but instead, puts them up as décor.
She says requests from customers provide hints for other design ideas, and so she encourages her customers, saying, “Please don’t hesitate to tell me all your requests and wishes!” Flip flops made to order make perfect gifts for any occasion, including birthdays, baby showers, and wedding anniversaries. If you choose to purchase flip flops already made and displayed at the shop, she offers to engrave names on them free of charge. Lately, she’s seeing more and more people who come to buy her flip flops for their kids or grandkids who attend nurseries and preschools because everything they take to school need to have their names on them.
It takes her about two to three hours to complete a pair, and while making them, she says her head is often full of poetry and stories. The Shima Zori in the photo above is titled, “If You Were Here.” She explained she wanted to express that ultimate happiness you feel when you see the one you love.
Made-to-order flip flops takes about two weeks to a month from order to delivery. For the perfect gift, you can ask to engrave a message for that special someone!
This summer, why don’t you put on a pair of these awesome flip flops that shine so brightly, and have fun with a cool, hidden fashion statement!
Address: 3-3-1 Makishi, Naha City, Okinawa (Please call for if you can’t find the shop)
Hours: From Around Noon to 19:00 on Sundays
Please check their blog for details on business hours.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko