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Okinawa, foreign even to Japan, attracts hipster tourists

Tropical island prefecture draws mainlanders looking for a gentler life

Sunny vibes at Good Day Coffee in the Okinawan city of Chatan.

“Okinawa is an island of shorts and bi-san (beach sandals) all year-round; I sometimes wonder how our business has survived for 30 years here,” says Akio Nashiro. Along with his wife and daughter, the 55-year-old runs Walker, a fashion boutique in Okinawa, Japan’s southerly subtropical island prefecture.

Walker carries desirable labels such as New York’s Engineered Garments and Tokyo’s Needles that are known for jackets and trousers with cool design twists. But selling cutting-edge urban fashion here can be something of a challenge.

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