Monday, May 28, 2007

Geriatric Madness in Okinawa

Here's a story for you---

This morning Seiko told me that she needs to cancel our class for tomorrow because her grandmother passed away. I, of course, gave her the obligatory "Oh, I'm so sorry!" She said not to be sorry at all ... that it is a good thing and will be a celebration of her life. She was 103 years old.

Okinawa is famous for having the largest number of centenarians in the world. Supposedly there are over 800 people on the island who have survived past the 100 year mark. Most of this goes back to diet, friendship, island lifestyles, etc. You can read about it and the Okinawa Diet here. Apparently there are significantly less cases of demetia, cancer, and heart disease compared to the rest of the world. This might explain why there are 80-year-olds at the gym doing one-arm push-ups. (Exaggeration, but still) My fellow teachers taught my the "eat until you are 80% full" rule when I first arrived. (hara hachi bu) But then they told me that they save their other 20% to fill with dessert. My kind of eaters!

So, later, I ask Seiko if she has anyone else in her family who has lived a long time. I was thinking that she would tell me that she had a grandfather who lived to 85 or something. Instead, she says, "Oh, yeah. My gradfather, who is dead now, he lived until maybe 104 or 105." And that's not all. "And my other grandmother she is over 100 too." I was completely amazed. I told her that she is going to live forever and she showed me her lifeline on her palm. She said that it was a deep and strong lifeline, but that she doesn't want to live until 100 because "that's just too long." My poor little American lifeline was nothing compared to hers. :(

Pretty fascinating stuff.


Carly said...

Wow. Now I want to know what my lifeline is. How can you tell?

Kenneth Griggs said...

My hands are callused. Does that mean I have a hard life in front of me?

Was that funny or did it feel forced?

Rachel said...

Ah, Ken, you've given me so many laugh lines ... My crows feet will have your name on them.

Carly, it's the line that makes a semi-circle about an inch from your thumb. I wouldn't mind getting my palm read. Apparently, (I did a bit of research) the life line isn't for how long you'll live but the quality of life. However, Seiko's line is pretty bloody impressive and with her history of 100+ people in her family...

Anonymous said...

Its not how long you live, its how you live it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It just came to me jw