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how to live to 100? 

Okinawa Archipelago, Japan


Umeto Yamashiro, 99 years old

Yomitan village, Okinawa prefecture, Japan

When I was younger I had a humble business; I sold odds and ends. It was enough to survive, but barely. When I was 80 years old I decided to realize my dream of becoming a dancer. I approached a traditional Okinawan dance troupe that performs for tourists and, as I was truly determined to learn, they gave me a chance. Now I am the star dancer!

I am in perfect health, I have no illnesses and I take no medication. At my last medical exam my doctor was jealous of my impeccable health. The secret? Laugh, laugh and laugh! Don’t let anger, hatred or worry live within you. Make an effort to love and accept all others. Be active, go out, party, dance, play music and embrace life!

The death of my husband was a liberation. My marriage was not always easy, but, at the end of his life, my husband did thank me and tell me that I was a magnificent wife. Thus we parted with our hearts at peace.
That being said, I love being single! I flirt constantly with men, the young as well as the old. I love to flirt, to seduce, to please, to laugh, and to tease the tourists with my alluring conduct. I never go out without applying my makeup and lipstick. I even bought a luxury perfume that cost 130$ American! I smell marvellously good!


Seikichi Inmine, 90 years old

Nakijin village, Okinawa prefecture, Japan

I am very disciplined. I wake every morning at 3 o’clock and I breakfast with a bit of miso soup, some rice and some vegetables. I never eat more than 80% of my fill. Then, I walk for an hour. I have been practicing this morning walk for 20 years, and on the rare occasion that I can’t take my walk I feel terrible. I then move on to my garden until noon before eating with my wife and taking an afternoon nap. Sometimes, I go golfing with my neighbours. I’m always sure to come home for 6:30 because in the dark I risk walking on venomous snakes. 
I pay attention to what I eat. I grow almost everything I eat and I use no pesticides. I am almost independent, apart from the miso and the rice.


Hamako Kikuyama, 92 years old

Onna-son village, Okinawa prefecture, Japan

I am very social and busy. I have many friends with whom I do numerous activities. We do aerobic exercise, golf parties, painting, cooking, everything. I am also a farmer and I sell my products at market. When I was younger, I was employed by the Americans, in the tourism sector; I sold cruise tickets. Since I retired at 70, I have been bored so I decided to throw myself into agriculture to keep myself busy and meet people.
When I was a young woman, it was war here. The American soldiers requisitioned our house, the beach was full of warships, and there were antipersonnel mines everywhere. My family and I had a hideout in the mountains, but we had nothing to eat. My elder sister went to the villages to steal sweet potatoes from the gardens. That’s how we survived.


It’s difficult for me to approach this subject since that period was so painful, but I have no resentment towards the Americans; after all, they gave me a job. All that to say, I am very worried about the conflict between Japan and North Korea. We must avoid another war at all costs.
There is a lot of juvenile delinquency on our island, and that worries me for my grandchildren. Every time I see the sun rise, I pray for them; even if I am not religious, I pray.