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Serial/Moving to Okinawa ③ Owner of "WOODVILLE HOUSE" Shinsaku Kimura's Case 4/4
post : 2014.10.31 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. When he was 20 years old he moved to Okinawa by himself and in order to get by he did various jobs, they worked in the kind of job he wanted, and has come to own his own shop. We will tell Kimura’s 14 year story of relocating to over 4 parts. In this installment, he will give advice to those who are actually thinking relocating to Okinawa.
You moved here before the Okinawa relocation boom?
Kimura: Yeah. At that time to say you were a transplant was pretty rare. The people who came here were tourist, here on business or hippies.
After that during the Okinawa relocation boom a lot of people moved here. You have been here for 14 years you think there are a lot of people who move here and come and go from here?
Kimura: Yes but the number of people who stay here is really small, almost everyone goes back home.
So it is hard to successfully relocate?
Kimura: Work is the biggest problem. Everyone chooses and there is plenty of work. You could be like me and sell turmeric and be staff on a beach. I was desperate. The pay is low but it is good to live by whatever it takes. You can get knowledge on life that way.
Among those you can find what you like and lay down roots.
Kimura: But I think doing that from the start would be hard. You have to do it little by little in your own way. I think that if you want to become something, you should go step by step to become that. Then don’t quit. Even, if it feels impossible don’t go immediately go home. Lastly, it is good to have a business in Okinawa.
Kimura: It is easy to do. The money to open a shop will cost less much less than opening in a city. The variation of business is a place to find a path. You can choose the rhythm of your day. That is why I recommend starting a business for something you are interested in!
But it seems there are a lot of financial and mental hurdles to start a business.
Kimura: Of course for retail the money for stock and other cost will be capital. But I think making accessories or something is good. At first I sold good luck bracelets on Kokusai-doori. For anyone who has a bit of artistic ability it is a land of opportunity. Like taking pictures or drawing. If it suddenly becomes impossible, then do it while you have a part time job. Half and half. I think the risk of starting a business in Okinawa is way lighter than starting a business elsewhere.
Other than financial is there is other easier parts?
Kimura: There are strong ties in Okinawa. Friends bring other friends and judgments spread by word of mouth. There is that meaning of be able to do it easier. Also specialists like nurses, pharmacist and childcare workers are strong. But it might be hard for someone who is rigid and serious. I have seen people go home because they didn’t feel Okinawa. I think Okinawa is more for those who have a desire to open a shop or live off of art or have a spirit of adventure rather than those who want to work in a company in a southern island.
(A part of the interior of a boutique that Kimura helped with)
People relocated here because they are chasing a fantasy, then they get disappointed in the low pay, the difference of the local culture and other gaps then go back home. Kimura gave us a real talk about the harsh realities through his 14 years of experience. At that time if you simply have a strong will, don’t give up and make your own path you may be able to lay down roots in the region.
1999: First came to Okinawa. Worked for 3 months while enjoying water sports
2000: Decided to move. Did jobs such as street peddling, selling turmeric and being beach staff
2001: Got a job at a contracting company.
2003: Went independent as a Kimura Interiors.
2007: Opened Woodville Hose. Sold military surplus furniture
2009: Went to America to buy interior
2013: Remodeled Woodville House and re-opened
Okinawa Clip Photowriter Sandy