Machizemi promotes local shopping with workshops, lessons
By Miki Shioda
Amid ever-increasing competition from giant shopping malls, merchants in the local Koza shopping area have come up with creative new ideas to attract people to their small shops.
While one can buy everything one needs on a visit to a large mall, there’s one area they can’t provide. That’s an expertise of what they sell, and the area history and culture and, of course, personal interaction with customers that only someone who lives and works in the intimate environment of an old shopping arcade can provide.
With that in mind, merchants in the Koza area have started a program called “Machizemi.” Participating shops offer lessons and little workshops highlighting the specialty of each shop. There are currently 44 individual shops participating in the promotion with 44 different lessons and workshops.
The cost of participating is nominal and covers mainly materials used in the workshop, and reservation one day before the event is required.
Machizami program started at Okazaki City in Aichi Prefecture in 2002, and is now active in 190 locations throughout Japan as a way to attract more people to go local shopping areas.
Okinawa city has two local bus routes within the city that people can hop in for just ¥100 per person. Both routes stop at Okinawa City Office, Korinza Mall and Music Town, where passengers can switch from one route to another. The bus driver gives a free transfer ticket on request. The bus is very useful when, for example, visiting a festival or other event at Koza Athletic Park that has no parking areas near by.
Here are a few of these workshops.
Yumeti-chi shop at 1F 2-16-1 Chuo, Okinawa City has a workshop to make a Disney princess glass art piece. For reservation, call Naomi Ishikawa at 070-5690-1244 any day between 10:00 and 18:00 except on Sundays.
The shop has two workshops, one on Apt. 17th and the other on Apr. 24th, both run from 13:00 to 14:00. The cost is ¥800 and covers materials.
Go-ma House at 24-5 Nakasone, Okinawa City, has a natural indigo dyeing class on Apr. 17th from 14:00 to 15:00. Call 098-989-9392 between 11:00 and 20:00 except on Saturday and Sunday, and Japanese holidays for a reservation. The cost is ¥1,000 and covers the dye and cloth.
Most people like the food in local izakaya pubs, but Izakaya Rashinban on Gate 2 Street (2F, 2-16-1 Chuo, Okinawa City) will teach you how to cook it. After you have cooked your meal you can eat it and have a drink to wash it down. Call Heianna at 098-937-0040 from 08:00 to 12:00 except on Wednesday, Sunday, and Japanese holidays. Classes are on Apr. 16 and 30 from 17:00 18:00 on both days. The cost is ¥1,000 for food and one alcohol drink. Please bring your own apron.
More details of the program and information is available on line in Japanese.