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Heartwarming Handmade Items at “Tan Tan,” a Knick-knack Shop in Naha City
post : 2017.08.13 18:00
Sometimes “a small thing can change someone’s later lives.” For example, someone’s hidden talent or possibility can be brought out by meeting so-and-so. Takayuki Yatsuda, the owner of a knick-knack shop named “Tan Tan,” also had such experience.
After Yatsuda quit his company in Tokyo where he worked for many years, he decided to become a Japanese soba chef to put his skills of soba master. First, he moved to Ishigaki Island because “I wanted to make sure if I were able to make Japanese soba at a place where in high-temperature and humidity,” he explained to me.
He was going to open a restaurant which serves “dishes with buckwheat flour” including Japanese soba and galette. However, he could not find any good property. One day, he showed his handmade wooden products to his acquaintance. He happened to be an owner of a knick-knack shop, and he suggested Yatsuda to sell his products at his shop. Later, his wife’s Sanshin instructor ordered chairs for sanshin practice to him, so he started making chairs as well.
Soba and wooden products, these are totally different but both have in common “to make with hands.” Yatsuda said, “I am happy to see customers’ smile when they receive my products and thank me! So I changed my plan to make wooden items instead of soba without hesitation or conflict. It is my pleasure for my customers to use my products at their houses.” Later, he opened his knick-knack shop named “Tan Tan” at Sunrise Naha Shopping Street in Naha City on October, 2014.
The reason why he opened his shop nearby Kokusai Street in Naha City instead of remote islands of Okinawa because Yatsuda wanted to promote his handmade products to people from in and out of Japan. One day, he found a property (the spot where his shop is located currently), and he decided to rent this place because the owner of the property told him that “you can decorate the interior freely.” Not only tables and shelves, but also he did all stone pitching, windows, wall, and ceiling! It is hard to believe that he has no experience on craft making except arts and crafts class in elementary school.
Currently, works by 27 artists are available at the shop, and some works got my attention. Works include porches with faces, mushroom chopstick rests and objects, earrings of natural shells with Ryukyuan glass, scrunchie scarf, and more.
I also found mugs and plates from “Futagodo” that we introduced before. These colorful plates and mugs can lighten everybody’s mood just by decorating them.
The top selling product at Tan Tan is the chair called “Mushroom in the house” which gave Yatsuda a reason to start up his own shop. He got its image from a mushroom. There are 5 different sizes of it, and they can be useful for multitasking including playing sanshin, memorial service, sitting straight, small children to sit, putting shoes on at the door, or cooking at the kitchen. Light woods such as pine tree or cedar are used for chair’s legs to “carry around easily.”
Collaborated products by Yatsuda and “TESHIGOTO,” a shop which produces canvas bags, are also available here. Fern printed cloth and camouflage pattern cloth are used to make products, and they are recommended. Actually, photos of fern in Northern Okinawa which took by Nagado, the owner of “TESHIGOTO,” are printed on cloths, and some secrets are hidden in the camouflage ones. I cannot tell you what they are, so why don’t you head to the shop and find out?
These mushrooms chairs are popular among not only local people, but also foreign residents in Okinawa and tourists from Taiwan, China, and Europe. You can also order custom-made chairs with your favorite cloth, colors of leather bands, colors of legs, and height. According to Yatsuda, “I also accept order for repair, so I can clean it or change its pattern for customers. If you have some clothing that can’t wear anymore but unable to throw away, I can use it to change it for you.”
And another recommended item is the smartphone stand. You can use it when you charge the phone, or when you cook while you are watching movies or recipes on the phone. Each stand is one-and-only design, so take a look at each and find your favorite one.
Each product look lovely, and they could be objects to decorate. I feel the warmth of craftsman through the products, and they warm my heart just by keeping them by my side. If you are looking for unique and creative souvenirs or presents, it would be good to stop by at this shop.
Address: 1-1-1 Tsuboya, Naha City
Business Hours: 11:00-18:00
Closed: Thu & Sun
Okinawa CLIP photo writer Sachiko