In Sydney, Australia, there is a small shop that goes overlooked by most people. From the outside, this store doesn’t stand out from the other identical hundred of stores around the city. Every day an unmeasurable number of people walk past the shop. People that are running late, people that are taking their time, and tourists that won’t walk past that street more than once in their lives. Most of them don’t even give the shop a second glance. What could be special about that little place that sells custom clothing for men?
Perhaps the answer could be found inside the store, Kazuna. But most people that enter the establishment out of mere curiosity don’t walk out of there particularly impressed. The clothes are nice, and the quality seems to be good. There is a nice variety of clothes. There are all kinds of shirts and shoes, as well as jackets and pants, plus a nice number of hats and umbrellas. The place is orderly, warm, and inviting but… aren’t most stores just like that?
There is a chance that the important thing about that spot in the middle of Sydney is the man that works inside Kazuna. The owner of the shop, Kaz, at first sight, already seems slightly more interesting than the average Australian. He constantly wears a gentle and reassuring smile that feels way more genuine than a strategy to earn more sales. And if any person inquired about him and his life, he gladly shared his story.
Kaz was born in 1970, a year after men walked on the moon for the first time and the beginning of a very eventful decade. It is undeniable that the 70s full of fights for human rights, equality, and wars fought unlike ever before, marked Kaz forever. He preferred not to dig too deep into his memories, and instead had a talent for pulling a funny anecdote on every subject he was asked about. This was something impressive, convenient, and highly entertaining for the people around him, considering he had experienced a pretty lively life so far.
A precious childhood in Yokohama, Japan, followed by teenage years that shaped him into a charming and clever young man, eighteen years lived on the hectic American roads, and he ended up in Sydney. Entering his fifties, Kaz had three loves in his life: his wife, his only child, and his store. He had a comfortable and joyful marriage. He had a brilliant and adorable kid. And the store… What was so special about it anyway?
There was a chance that the most remarkable thing about Kazuna was its clientele. After all, it was a surprisingly diverse group of people, the ones that walked in and out of the store on a regular basis. And, if someone were to pay close attention to those doors, then maybe they would realize that sometimes people entered the shop and they were never seen again on Australian grounds or, alternatively, people that had never been seen entering the store, sometimes walked out of it as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Could it be that there was something extraordinary happening in that store? Was it possible that something clandestine or miraculous was hiding among those simple custom-made shirts and jackets?
Let’s take a long, careful look at the people walking out of Kazuna during a pretty regular week. On Monday, a businessman entered the place right before sunset. He seemed nervous, and jittery, looking around him twice before setting foot inside the store. An hour later, he walked out wearing a different suit, with his head held high and his face betraying no other emotion rather than fearlessness. He fixed his jacket and, well, if someone caught a peek of a gun on the waist of his pants, nobody said anything.
On Wednesday, it was one of those days when, without being seen entering the store, someone walked out of it. In fact, four people did this. Early in the morning, when the streets weren’t crowded yet, a woman carrying a baby walked out of the recently opened store. Later, on a lull of the day right before the rush hour of lunch hit, a young boy walked out of the store. Except, it wasn’t a boy at all, it was a little girl wearing boyish clothes and a too-big hat disguising her delicate face, never before seen in Australia. Then, late in the afternoon, a middle-aged man walked out of Kazuna, looking a little too happy for that smile to be about brand new clothes. It was not a coincidence that those four individuals reunited at a precise hour in a safe new house.
It went on and on. It happened nearly every day, and nobody ever suspected the little clothing store. New stories started and old tales ended right there in that spot. After businessmen with guns, reunited families, rebellious women, politicians, celebrities, and innocent people, there were always more visitors for Kaz, and they weren’t exactly looking for custom-made clothes.
That was how a normal Friday started. On the other side of the street across from Kazuna, a small group of teenagers was reunited. A lanky boy with glasses was nervously looking around them, two girls were hugging while one of them whispered sweet comforting words to the other, and another boy had a reassuring hand on one of the girl’s back. “He’s going to help you, I know it,” the young boy was saying, “Everyone talks about Kaz as if he was an angel or, well, it’s more complicated than that… but don’t be scared!”
Despite the boy’s reassurance, the four of them were quite nervous when they entered Kazuna for the first time. Kaz observed them quietly, and walked around his desk to face them. He wore a kind and knowing smile and greeted them politely. “Hi there. My name is Kaz, how may I help you?”