O for O K I N A W A
Okinawa means "rope in the ocean" and this beautiful oasis in Japan is blessed with blue waters, deep forests, colorful fish, coral reefs, ocean breezes, and a pure diet of tofu, seaweed, grains, fruits, vegetables and fresh fish.
Japan's Okinawa islands consist of Okinawa Island (Honto) the largest in size and population, Kumejima, Agunijima, and Iejima. There are also the Kerama Islands of Akajima, Gerumajima, Tokashiki, and Zamami as well as the Yokatsu Islands.
The oldest evidence of human existence in Okinawa dates to the Paleolithic era. The 8th century marks the beginning of an agricultural society. The citizens of Okinawa have the longest lifespan in the world (100-105 years). Diet and exercise play a key role in maintaining a healthy and long life. A typical diet consists of grains, fruits, vegetable, seaweed, fish, tofu, and green tea. Consumption of goya (a bitter melon gourd), Japanese sweet potatoes, zedoary (an herb similar to turmeric), and fresh fish from the local waters provide the body with minerals and vitamins.
Okinawa Sweet Potatoes and Goya are loaded with nutritional benefits!
It is said that karate, a world famous martial art got its start in Okinawa. Karate was born from the integrations of a Chinese marital art "kung fu" and "te" meaning "hand" in Japanese. KARATE is a combination of punching, striking, kicking, elbow strikes, and knee strikes.
The Okinawans call themselves Uchinanchu "sea people." They speak of things that are done on the shima (islands) in comparison to the way things are done on Japan's mainland known as honto. Today in the 21st century the Okinawa islands are not only enjoyed by the Japanese but by the multitude of international tourists who have discovered a bit of paradise on the Asian continent.
Things to see on Okinawa Island:
Southern Honto;Sefa Utaki, War Memorials
Naha; Shuri Castle, Shikinaen Garden, Tamaudun (Mausoleum)
Northern Honto; Hiji Waterfall, Hedo Misaki, Ocean Expo Park, Nago Pineapple Park, Nakijin Castle
Central Honto; Nakagusuku, Nakamura Residence
Be certain to scout out the other nearby islands for water sports and stunning beaches!
Goya Stir-fry (A taste of Okinawa, JAPAN)
Scoop out the seeds of two goyas and slice the goyas into bite sizes. Fry 2-3 thinly sliced garlic cloves into an oiled wok. Add the goya and 1 cup sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Stir and fry for 5-7 minutes. Add some soy sauce and enjoy a bit of Okinawa, JAPAN.