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Serial / Moving to Okinawa ① Café “Ameiro Shokudo” Owner Keiko Tateno’s Case
post : 2014.02.15 15:00
We have previously introduced a café located in Naha City called “Ameiru Shokudo” on Okinawa CLIP.
Its owner, Keiko Tateno, seems so relaxed and peaceful that she blends in perfectly to the laid-back atmosphere of Okinawa. So how did she settle down here and end up starting her own café ?
We will post her story in a four parts series.
Ms. Tateno, what were you doing before coming to Okinawa?
Tateno: Actually, it had nothing to do with dining. During the four years after graduating from junior college, I was working for a company that developed industrial products in the Kanto area, I was shaking test tubes and wearing a white lab coat (laughs).
That is completely different from what your doing now (laughs). It’s even hard to picture you shaking test tubes...
How did you feel about your future when you quit your job?
Tateno: I was kind of used it to as it was my first job, but at some point I started to wonder “what type of job would I really like." Then, during the 4th year of my previous job I started to think that if I settled down in a place that I liked and tried to do things that I was interested in, I would eventually find the job that I like.
Did you live in another location before settling down in Okinawa?
Tateno: No. I was born and raised in Chiba and before moving to Okinawa at age 25 I had never left my family home.
What?! What an amazing adventure to suddenly decide to move so far! How many times did you travel to Okinawa before that?
Tateno: When I was working at the company, I used my paid vacation to come and I also came sometimes during long holidays. At the time, I particularly liked the Yaeyama area, so I think I went to Ishigaki Island, Hateruma Island over 10 times. In the beginning I wanted to live on an isolated island.
You visited many times, didn’t you.
So is that how you desire to settle down became stronger?
Tateno: Exactly. I started to love Okinawa more and more and just traveling wasn’t enough anymore so I decided to try to live here for a while. So tentatively I came for a 3 month trip.
But because I am timid , I can only move forward in small steps.
At first when I wanted to live in Okinawa, I actually thought that maybe it nothing but what they call the “Okinawa fever”, and that maybe after staying a little while here I would regain the power of reason and decide I had enough.
But three months passed and my desire to live here was still the same, so I decided to stay a little more.
That is how I went back once to my hometown then came back here for good.
At the time, did you come with the plan to live here permanently?
Tateno: No, I wasn’t yet sure about staying here forever, so after spending one or two months in a guest house, I rented a Leo Palace furnished room. If I bought furniture or appliances then I may not return home.
Back then, I thought that maybe I was going to stay half a year, but then six months passed by like a flash.
Afterward I ended up moving in an apartment.
(This picture was taken with the owner of the guest house in Naha City where she stayed in just after she settled down in Okinawa)
Did you come here with a certain amount of savings?
Was the moving quite expensive?
Tateno: A bit. When I was working I saved some money. Especially because I heard that incomes were lower in Okinawa compared to the Kanto area.
Leo Palace furnished room and the partial security deposit was a little more expensive than regular apartments because it was furnished, so if I include everything from the rent that was paid advance, intial costs, moving fees and guest-house staying fees, the total for moving here was around \500,000. But if I had moved directly into a regular apartment, I think it would have cost less.
I see. How much did you bring with you?
Tateno: When I first came I only brought a bag. About enough to travel for a week.
Afterward I had the things I needed sent from home little by little.
But it takes a lot of courage to live by yourself so far from home!
It was also your first time doing procedures and things like that...How did your family react?
Tateno: At the beginning when I came on a trip my father was like “girls don't travel by themselves!” Then, it seemed like he didn't think that I would live here for real. So at some point he started to panic seeing that I wasn’t coming back.
But as expected, he eventually managed to deal with it once I opened my own shop here.
Ms. Tateno speaks in a relaxed and cheerful manner. She gives the impression of someone who moved forward step by step while searching solid footing and making sure not to betray her own feelings.
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