|The beautiful Kariyushi Beach in Okinawa boasts clear, shallow water.|
More than 7,500 miles separate New York City and Okinawa –– a group of sub-tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean –– but its cultural presence continues to grow in Gotham. Not only is there an Okinawa Association chapter for those fond of the culture and lifestyle, but there’s a smattering of traditional dishes available in restaurants, as well as a host of spots using Okinawan influence in their menus. For example, in Midtown East, chow on mozuku (a type of seaweed) at Sushiden, and savor goya chanpuru (bitter melon, egg, tofu, and Spam) at Riki. Thirsty? Guzzle Okinawa-brewed Orion beer at Yuzu in Harlem.
Besides the Okinawan food and drink scene, however, we New Yorkers should heed the well-balanced lifestyle of the people who inhabit these islands off the coast of Japan. With our stressful, hurried lives, we could stand to pause now and then, if not slow down altogether, and appreciate the beauty our city and world offer.
They aim to live with low stress.
Okinawans are known for their peaceful albeit stress-free lifestyles. Less stress means feeling happier. We can all use an extra dose of happiness in our lives.
They eat well.
In Okinawa, processed food isn’t on the menu. Instead, natives load up on fresh fruits and veggies, some rice, tofu, and fish, as well as pork. Okinawans believe in eating a meal until they’re 80 percent full.
They have a vast appreciation for nature.
Rare tropical plants, orchids, water birds, and fish from the Amazon populate the islands. The Tropical Dream Center displays about 2,000 species of orchids, allowing locals and visitors to view the flowering plants at any time of year.
|The Tropical Dream Center displays orchids year-round.|
Relationships are most important.
Beyond diet, strong relationships between family and friends contribute to Okinawans lengthy life expectancy. Loneliness is uncommon in Okinawa. In fact, Okinawa’s Kouri Island, with its picturesque landscape and emerald green ocean waters, is often referred to as the “Island of Love.” The best view is from the Kouri Ocean Tower.
|The stunning view of Kouri Island.|
About “The Secret”…
In keeping with the idea that people from anywhere can feel at peace and be their true selves when they spend time in Okinawa, six travelers from around the world (US, Singapore, France, Thailand, China and Germany) visited and revealed a secret to a loved one. Can you imagine visiting a faraway place and feeling so relaxed that you’re able to tell your wife or father something you couldn’t tell them at home? You can watch the video series and get each person’s story while getting a feel for the landscape of Okinawa.