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Serial / Moving to Okinawa ② Café “Ameiro Shokudo” Owner Keiko Tateno’s Case
post : 2014.02.21 16:00
Keiko Tateno, the owner of “Ameiro Shokudo”, seems so peaceful and relaxed that she blends right into the laid-back atmosphere of Okinawa. So how did she relocate and end up starting her own shop?
We will post her story in a four parts series.
In this second part, we will start when she relocated, leased an apartment and started to live the real Okinawa life she dreamt of.
At the time you moved to the apartment, did you plan to live in Okinawa forever?
No, at that time I didn’t plan to live here forever.
I just wanted to stay a few years because I hadn’t had enough yet.
So it seems your feelings also relocated little by little.
Did you find a job before coming here?
No, I started looking for a job once I got here.
At the beginning I lived off of my savings (laughs).
I started a part time job soon after I moved into the guesthouse so for a while I commuted from there to my job.
You really came to Okinawa on your own! How courageous.
How did you look for a job in here?
I wanted to work in a café so I just checked help wanted ads or went directly to shops to ask if they were hiring.
This is how by chance I found a café with a help wanted sign so I went there with my resume, had an interview and then I got a job there.
The café was inside the Sakurazaka Theater and it changed name since then but I stayed there a little less than 4 years, until I opened my own shop.
So when you were working in that café did you little by little feel determined to have your own shop?
But there was this amazing café back home and when I was in junior high I dreamed of working there.
But I did a normal job hunt and completely forgot about my dream (laughs).
However, at the end of my first 3 month trip, I suddenly remembered this dream.
I was also thinking that if I have to work, I might as well do it in a place I like, so that’s why I looked for a job in a café.
So you didn’t really have experience with cooking professionally before?
You learned when you started working?
Yes. I cooked dinner with my mother and stuff but I really only knew the basics. I seriously started working with food and drink in a kitchen when I came in Okinawa. Basically it was a café, so I was cooking mostly the kind of food that is served in cafés but it was a complex, so I also had the opportunity to learn management and other things. This is when became clear to me what I really wanted to do and I started to think about opening my own shop.
So was the money to open your café saved from your part-time job?
No. My pay wasn’t much so it was just enough for my living expenses.
I actually used the money I saved when I was working in a company.
Weren’t your parents surprised when you told them that you not only moved to Okinawa but also that you wanted to open your own shop? (laughs)
Yes, that’s when they gave up on me coming back home (laughs). Actually my grandmother has a traditional Japanese kaiseki restaurant and I’ve seen that since I was small, so they may have been a little startled but I think part of them was not that surprised to see me to follow the same path as my grandmother.
It is true that blood will tell (laughs).
Explaining the café’s refurbishment to her mother before the opening
Keiko Tateno relocated to Okinawa, remembered her dream and step by step advanced toward that dream.
Next time we will ask her about when she actually opened her shop.
Address: 1-3-7 Higawa, Naha City
Phone Number: 098-911-4953
Business Hours: From 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays
Okinawa CLIP Photowriter Sandy