Welcome to the WAiian Website!
You may be wondering who I am, and what kind of shop this is.
For starters, the name "WAiian" combines the Japanese character 'Wa'(和）, and the word Ha-'waiian'. 'Wa' is a kanji character which means "Japanese", and also describes an important Japanese cultural concept of "harmony".
I came to Japan at the age of 5, and grew up in Tokyo as a "missionary kid". My family used to stop over in Hawaii or the Mariana Islands on our trans-pacific journeys back to the United States, and I enjoyed this very much.
With this cultural background, it's not surprising that I fell in love with Japanese culture, and became hopelessly drawn to tropical islands.
Growing up in a missionary home also gave me an affinity for being of service to others. It is my passion (as a physical therapist) to help my patients overcome painful conditions and regain healthy, happy lives.
When the Covid pandemic began to unfold in 2020, I found myself doing some major soul-searching. My husband and I were working from our home in Tokyo, and all 3 of my boys (2 who were college students) found themselves stuck back home with all of their plans derailed. There was a lot of upheaval and shattered spirits.
I had been trying to prepare for a growing empty nest when all of this happened, so as a mother it was also a tremendous joy to have everyone together unexpectedly. We had been mulling over the possibility of adding a pet, but as an international family with overseas travel a necessity, this would prove to be difficult.
Then one day it struck me.... we could be fosters for pets instead!! This way it would be temporary, but we would have the privilege of nurturing and enjoying not one, but many different pets. Since we used to have a cat many years ago, it was a natural decision to foster kittens and cats.
Well... it has turned out to be much more challenging than imagined, to foster and rehabilitate animals who have been rescued off the streets and have had traumatic experiences to overcome. But the upside is that it brought the whole family together in a group effort to accomplish this task, and these precious animals have been incredibly healing and therapeutic for all of us!
So what does all of this have to do with this website?
Something incredible happened, which is that all of my "loves" would come together in a tangible way, totally by accident. I began to make little kitty collars for our fosters. Then I thought it would be wonderful to incorporate my hobby of Hawaiian ribbon leis into the collars. Next I got excited to use antique Japanese kimono fabrics and sew these for the ribbon decorations. And so the madness began... week after week of trial and error, and a new-found excuse to get Japanese fabrics that I just LOVE. From here I also had to add Hawaiian cottons too, of course!
I realized that I had an affinity for working with tools and learned how to do simple charms in the process... which has now grown to jewelry-making!
I finally decided that it was time to bring into fruition my 30+ year dream of dealing with Tahitian Black pearls. I fell in love with them long ago on my honeymoon, and now by putting things into perspective, it seemed like the time was right for stepping out of my comfort zone and take the leap.
And so it is my absolute joy and pleasure to offer Tahitian pearls from Tahiti! I am now sourcing these ocean treasures directly from sustainable farms in French Polynesia. I welcome you to contact me even if it's just to browse through my collection of loose pearls (no purchase necessary!), or if you want to shop for something special. I love making custom accessories and able to offer very reasonable prices since I work solo.
I guarantee a warm and personal experience.
I hope you will come to love these gems as much as I do!!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the shop! I look forward to meeting you.