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Locals love Okinawa and traditional foods

Date Posted: 2007-01-08

The best thing about Okinawa is its food.

Hands down, that’s the thinking of 97% of Okinawa citizens, who ranked local foods as the most important aspect of being Okinawan. Close behind, at 84.8%, was citizens’ pride at being Okinawan. The discoveries were disclosed in a newly released survey by the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper, covering interviews with more than 2,000 residents in November-December.

Okinawans have a strong belief in their future, with the majority calling for protecting the environment, their children and families, and the elderly and disabled. Most said “Sure, I want a wealthy life”, but then added they love their hometowns even more. Residents in northern Okinawa, and those in the Miyako Islands group, expressed some fears about their lives, and quality of life issues.

Across Okinawa, older citizens were worried about losing their heritage, pointing out few young people know the local dialect language now, and few citizens take time to communicate with their neighbors anymore.

Fully a third of the Okinawans surveyed said they felt different about mainland Japanese, saying they “feel different about them”. The strongest anti-mainlander opinions were voiced by Okinawans living in the northern regions of the prefecture.

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