Yoshi Hachi, Okinawan food and Health

One of our favorite places to eat in Okinawa was Yoshi's.
A traditional sushi joint with the most delicious and fresh sushi EVER!
We have officially become sushi snobs.  Since moving to Japan, I realize we will never have sushi like that again.  And at the cheap prices that we are used to!
However, when we first got to Japan, we were so excited about the food!  I mean...Asian food is a favorite!  But we quickly realized that our expectations were WAY off.  Of course, the sushi was the best thing in terms of a traditional Japanese dish;  But there were a lot of things that we just couldn't get into.

 Take off your shoes when you get in, and sit on the tatami mats on the floor!

Soba noodles, Udon, Yakinuki (although we did like Yakitori)...there were many strange brothy soups.  One in particular, which I'm not sure of the name...with a true pig's food floating in it.  No thank you!!!!  They love their pork.

But the people of the Ryukyu Islands have the highest life expectancy than anyone in the world!  Why?!
For one...the average American serving size is about triple what we would get in Okinawa.  They eat very little carbs and processed foods.  In fact, many toxic ingredients and pesticides that we find in various processed foods in the US are banned in Japan.  This was a comfort when shopping at the local markets because I usually had NO IDEA what I was getting!  haha! 
Also, we would see some old ass people just doing their thing in town...walking/hobbling around or riding around on these little motorized carts, even riding bicycles or scooters.  They are very active and it continues into their old age.
Another thing and probably the most important part of their health, which they take very seriously...is maintaining a calm, positive mind. In all aspects of life.  Before work everyday the employees will stretch, yoga and meditate before beginning their work day.  When a woman becomes pregnant, she stops doing anything with any amount of stress and focuses entirely on the health of not only her body, but also her mind.

A few months after we arrived on Okinawa, I was leaving a store (it was on base, but there were many Japanese locals who worked on Kadena), and this kind Japanese lady was at the cash register.  In front of me was a woman with a tiny baby...the woman was ooh-ing and aaaah-ing at the baby.  Ironically, that very day I had found out that we were pregnant with little Luke, our first baby.
So I got up to the register, and the lady commented to me about how precious babies were (in her broken English.)
I was too excited to hold back, and told her that I had just found out I was pregnant.  Her eyes filled with tears, she literally walked around the counter and held my shoulders and told me 'Oh, you going to be good mommy.  If you happy, the baby happy.  Love is in you.'
OHMYGOD...I'm pretty sure I was changed. And my respect for the Japanese people and their cultural difference shifted.  It brought to my attention how they approach life and how different it is from myself and anyone else I know.  Over the next 3 years, many of these moments presented themselves...I feel so full that I was able to see and learn first hand from such a truly wonderful culture.

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