I stayed in Okinawa for almost 4 months, starting November 2000, and my thoughts about my stay there include:
I think Okinawa is one of the best places on earth to live, because:
(i) the longest-lived people on earth are Japanese, and the longest-lived Japanese are Okinawans;
(ii) in all of Japan, Okinawa has the lowest cost of living, so one can afford that mixer lift in the kitchen, no problems.
(iii) before I went to OIC in Nov 2000, I read that Okinawa is the least developed of all of Japan’s (33?) prefectures. But when I arrived there – my impression was that it’s not underdeveloped at all!
(iv) I think the people are even friendlier than the people of Malaysia; and Malaysia’s Tourism Department kept repeating that Malaysians are very friendly people, hence come visit Malaysia :-)
(v) I learned so much from my 3+ month stay there: I have always wondered why Japan is heads and shoulders above other Asian countries. The answer that I got: attitude. In many other places, Malaysia included, the facilities are 1st class, but the attitude/mentality is 3rd class.
(vi) top class musicians: some of the greatest Japanese pop music I have ever heard are from Okinawans: Kiroro. After I left Japan, I heard Natsukawa Rimi sing “Shima Uta” on youtube – even better than
The Boom! And later on I was introduced to BEGIN. And of course I discovered the legendary Hidekatsu there:
日出克 (Hidekatsu) – 天ぬサバニ (1994?) – an Okinawan song that I heard for the first time in 2000 and was immediately hooked:
日出克 (Hidekatsu) – ニロースク (1994?) – another Okinawan song from the same album – this is one of the saddest yet beautiful melodies that I have ever heard. If you want a goodbye instrumental, this is a perfect choice. Fittingly, I heard this playing as I left for the airport to leave the place: