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Tonaki Time Warp March 14, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in History, Photos.
Tags: , , ,

We spent this weekend on a tiny island about 30 miles west of Naha, courtesy of the Japanese government. Tonaki Island is only about 2 miles long, and the sole village is no more than a 1/2-square-mile. What you see here is pretty much all there is. Untouched by American influence during or after World War II, Tonaki seems kind of trapped in the past, in the best possible way.

Most of Tonaki’s population are seniors, living simply as farmers or fishermen. Students have to leave the island to attend high school, so the average age of citizens gets older and older until … well, we’ll find out in 20 years. Maybe that’s why the government pays for tourists to visit, to lure them back. But for now, the people on Tonaki seem content, in a way of life that I’ve only ever seen in Totoro.

More Tonaki stories and photos to come. Here are some teasers for now:

This beach was a 1-minute walk away. Sigrunn and I found skirtfuls of pretty seashells and broken pottery, plus a 20-inch turtle shell skeleton.

That yellow place on the left is where we stayed, a tatami room guest house with a roof deck! The big building on the right is the one school, grades K-8, which only 40 kids attend.



1. okidu - March 14, 2010

miss Okinawa already! sabashii…

2. The Tonaki Song « oki yo! - June 1, 2010

[…] night on Tonaki Island, we went out to the seawall with Sigrunn, new friends Kinjo and Saya, the pink guitar, the […]

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