All posts tagged: longevity

Camera Test – Fujifilm EPX-4440HD

Photographers looking for lightweight portable imaging devices often give rave reviews of  mirrorless Fuji cameras. So this week I decided to test out one of the latest cameras in the Fujifilm line, the EPX-4440HD. Positive points about this camera include “User-friendly menus” and “Advanced image technology” it also offers an “anti-blur function  that allows an optimal image to be extracted from multiple images.” A great option for those with less steady hands. Portability is a little restricted. Although the camera is small, it does require a cart for the processing system and monitor. Photographers accustomed to tethered systems in the studio will probably be the most familiar with this setup. Wedding photographers and fashion photographers may find the range of angles a little limiting. Those with an interest in macro photography will enjoy the camera’s ability to focus at short distances while the “300 watt xenon primary light source” brings illumination to the most restricted of shooting locations. For portrait photographers the camera offers new possibilities beyond your basic profile, full face, and three-quarter view. This may be a way for …

Bodybuilder Hidekazu Taba

Hidekazu Taba is a champion bodybuilder. Several years ago I saw him compete at the Pacific Muscle Classic on Camp Foster. He won his weight class, he won his age group, he won overall. In other competitions, he’s repeated the feat. He dominates Okinawan body building, and he does it at age 67. For a long time I’ve been hoping to photograph Taba-san and yesterday I visited his home to take a few pics. Taba-san began bodybuilding around 40 years ago after seeing a Tarzan movie. He hits the gym for a couple of hours, 5 days a week. Unlike many bodybuilders who bulk up and then cut weight (shred?) for competitions he stay lean all year. The reason is that he’s not trying to peak for a single event, but has to be ready for local competitions or festivals all year. He’s very happy that his grandchildren are proud to have a super cool oji-chan. I’m looking forward to shooting more photos of Taba-san training at the gym and at competitions. Images shot with …

Crusader for Health – Interview with Dr. Makoto Suzuki

Dr. Makoto Suzuki is a cardiologist and geriatrician. In 1976, he moved from Tokyo to Okinawa and began work at the Ryukyu University Hospital. While working in the field of community medicine, he discovered that there were an unusually high number of very healthy old people living on Okinawa. He began the Okinawa Centenarian Study, which has documented the phenomenon for more than 30 years. The findings of his research became the basis of several books that became bestsellers in Japan and around the world. How did you discover the phenomenon of Okinawan longevity? “I had heard that there was a very healthy old lady living in Yomitan Village, so I, and two others from the hospital, went out to meet her. She was over 100 years old, but when we arrived she was outside cutting the grass with a sickle. I was amazed at how fit and strong she was. When we talked to her, she didn’t think she was unusual at all. In fact, she pointed out that another healthy centenarian lived directly …

Words of Warning and Wisdom – Interview with Dr. Andrew Weil

Dr. Andrew Weil is the director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He’s been on the cover of Time magazine, written several best selling books and was recently described as one of the twenty most influential people in America. During his visit to Okinawa I talked to him briefly about his thoughts and views on healthy living and the longevity of Okinawans. What do you think are the major problems with the western diet? “Too much meat and animal products in general. Too few vegetables and too few fruits, the wrong kind of fats especially too much refined vegetable oil, margarine and artificially hardened fats, and too few of the Omega-3 fats from fish. Also too much refined carbohydrates, highly processed wheat flour and in general too much processed food, not enough fresh natural food, I’d say they were the main problems.” What can we learn from the Okinawan diet? “Many more vegetables and a greater variety of vegetables, more legumes especially soy and other special Okinawan foods, goya and …

Unjami Festival on Kouri Island, Okinawa

Yesterday, August 25th, was the Unjami Festival on Kouri Island, Okinawa. It is a time to give thanks to the gods. Wearing wreaths of ryukyu botanzuru (Clematis taiwaniana var. ryukiuensis) village elders lead the prayers and offerings. At 96 years old, Kaneshi Fusae is the most senior of the village elders. Participants and spectators at the festival received some mochi (sticky gelatinous rice cake). After offerings of paper money and Awamori rice liquor at the shrine, 79 year old Toguchi Ayako lead the way down toward the sea. More prayers  as we crossed the little road that rings the island. And then finally, on a bluff over looking the ocean,  Toguchi-san gave the final blessings. Kaneshi-san was all smiles, another festival completed.

Genki Oba-chan

Okinawan women not only have the longest life expectancy in the world, but the extra years are usually healthy, happy and productive. The reason is more nurture than nature, so eat your veggies, get some exercise, cherish your friendships, and remember to smile.