Souvenir in Okinawa
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Brathess and Anshare: Naha’s leather renaissance
- In recent years, Naha has quietly become one of the coolest cities in Japan. The locals always knew what as up, but, for anyone to take notice, it took an onslaught of Bohemian refugees from the crushing work-work-work lifestyle of Osaka and Tokyo. Naha is where it’s at, these days. There’s now an ecosystem of shops, cafes, restaurants and guesthouses with a focus on the local, the artistic and the unique. Uehara Shotaro’s Brathess and Anshare are part of that new ecosystem. They are fine representatives of what’s happening now in Naha: local craftsmen gathering together to sell unique products. Leather craftsman and entrepreneur Uehara Shotaro, who holds ownership of both shops, is a Naha native in his 30s, and the perfect representative for the city’s hipster makeover. He located his two shops, Anshare and Brathess, right at epicenter of that makeover, the territory around Naha Kokusai Dori Shopping Street. The area is home to an increasing number of hotels, and visitors looking for unique souvenirs of their time in Okinawa. Coverage in lifestyle magazines and blogs have driven demand at the shops, and many of the customers hail from those big cities up north. Anshare is the more approachable of the two shops, with a focus on leather basics. In a time when nearly everything is disposable plastic or rubber, it’s heartening to think that the products at this shop are natural, could last a lifetime, and will biodegrade faster than the centuries it could take plastics to break down. The shop can also work with requests for custom-made products. At Brathess, Uehara Shotaro and the other craftsmen and craftswomen that he has gathered around him, offer their more artistic pieces. The focus is still on leather, as at Anshare, but also on pieces made from brass and precious metals. Once again, each piece is completely unique, meaning that if something catches your eye, don’t hesitate to pick it up—it might be gone the next time you go in! ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
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Let go of your image of a busy, ordered Japan and replace it with crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and relaxing folk music: You've arrived in Okinawa. A world away from the high intensity of Tokyo, Okinawans appear to live a laid-back beach life on this paradisiacal tropical island that lies in the middle of the East China Sea almost 1,000 kilometers south of mainland Japan's most southern tip. Home to a spattering of islands, prepare yourself to discover underwater caves, star-shaped sand, and an island culture sometimes unrecognizable from mainland Japan.
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