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MCCS captures the Okinawa Spirit

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2006-07-22

A new book accenting the wonders of Okinawa is now on the bookstore shelves, ready for a place in everyone’s home.

The Best of Okinawa Living is a 300+ page pictorial compilation packaged by the staff of Marine Corps Community Services to introduce readers to the wonders of Japan’s southernmost prefecture. It goes beyond many publications by taking readers deeply into the islands’ culture, customs and natural beauty.

The Brief History of Okianwa touches on the islands gusuku, or castles, and chronicles a few historical highlights. The Places chapter takes readers on a virtual tour of southern, central and northern Okinawa as well as the surrounding isles and islets. The prefecture’s people are chronicled in an Okinawan Icons chapter that carries the reader around the Ryukyu Islands.

Holidays, special events and occasions, and festivals are all a vital part of local and Japanese culture. Celebrations highlights the Okianwa Matsuri, the seasonal festivals that include the Naha Great Tug-of-War, a contest using the world’s largest rope made of natural materials, and the prefecture’s beautiful beaches. Known for its beauty, the Ryukyu Archipelago is paid homage by the MCCS staff. The book’s Natue section transport readers on a brief sightseeing expedition to Okinawa’s quickly-disappearing northern forests known as Yanbaru, into the island’s many caves, including the massive grotto known as Gyokusendo, and on to the beaches.

Traditional Okinawan cuisine, the hot topic in recent years by doctors and others noting the longevity of local citizens, focuses on not only the delectable tastes, but the health values, in a chapter labeled simply Food & Drink. Of course, the Okinawan people are what make this prefecture special, and the People chapter captures the insights on the people who are the treasures in this sub-tropical paradise.

The Best of Okianwa Living is now available at select AAFES BookMark locations for $34.95, making it an ideal, affordable gift for newcomers, farewell parties, for friends and family back home, and for the perfect center coffee table spot in your home.

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