Friday, August 15, 2014

Taking a Peek Inside an Okinawan Mom and Pop Store

canned goods,beans,vegetables,fruits,sauces

Almost a Thing of the Past



There used to be stores like this, in every village, throughout the Ryukyu Islands.

Shopping malls and convenience stores, open 24 hours a day have changed things.

Many of these small operations have gone out of business.

mom and pop store, outside view

 Walking the back-roads, behind my office, I discovered one that's still open.

There's nothing quite like a good old mom and pop store.

The government should declare, the few that are still open,  National Treasures.

And, give them tax exempt status.

By golly, the people, are giving-up a front room of their house, to serve humanity.

aisle,store,ice cream, shelves

Just inside the door, I passed an ice cream cooler and fresh vegetables.

Shelves lined one dimly lit aisle and, it was real quiet.

tissues,shelves,corned beef

 That gave me a chance to zoom-in and get a closer look.

When it looks like nobody is home, here's what you're supposed to do:

Say, "Gomenkudasai" loud enough for the people in the house, to hear you.

small store, house

Somewhere, from within the house, you'll get a response.

And, you will discover some of the finer souls, who walk the planet Earth.

women at home

 This morning, I met the mother and daughter at Kamiyamah Shop.

They gave me permission to shoot the whole place.

Look in the mirror (upper right) and, you'll see me, peeking through the viewfinder.

interior, Okinawan home

 This is the view from the side entrance to the home.

They gave me permission to photograph the family butsudan, to the right, as well.

Once, that was accomplished, I wanted to get back into the store.


Children, need to know, they have snacks and candy in this store.

And, the prices are no different than, at any other establishment.

household goods,shevles

Now, I have no idea what people pay for these household items.

There may be some savings, buying laundry and dish detergents at a major distributor.

But, I bet you'd spend a few more nickles, driving there.


The best part of visiting a mom and pop store, is in this photo, of the checkout counter.

There isn't any fancy cash register.

If you like to hear beeps and tweets at the checkout, make your own noises.

The addition and subtraction gets done with those wooden beads.

In Japan, that's a soroban. Something, you might know as an abacus.

Before Leaving the Store

It would be nice to know, just how long this shop was in operation.

When I asked, the mom had to think about it for awhile and, couldn't remember.

Then, her eyes lit up.  She turned the soroban over and read some writing on the bottom.

"Since 1967" she replied.

Then, I bought a few cans of iced coffee and a watermelon ice cream.

She rung-up the tally on her beads.  And, told me the ice cream was free.

Stop by Your Local Mom and Pop Store Wherever You Are !!!

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