[no subject]
From: John Greene, Nancy Lowe (greenelowemindspring.com)
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 12:45:17 -0500

        This was sent to me by a friend, and certainly seems relevant to us
cohousing folks.  Sounds a bit Shangri-la-ish, but hey -- I'll take all the
encouraging examples I can get.

John Greene
Lake Claire Cohousing

>The Tale Of Genki
>By Mark Litke
>What do the villagers of Oshima Island know that we don't?
>When it comes to living a healthier life they may know a lot.
>The Japanese word Genki describes a state of being happy, vigorous and
>O S H I M A  I S L A N D,  Japan,  Oct. 20 - Time has been kind to Oshima
>Island, sheltered by the calm waters of Japan's Inland Sea.     People on
>the island, and its village of Towa, celebrate the changing of the seasons
>well into their 70s, 80s and beyond. With half the population above the age
>of 65, this is the oldest-and arguably, the healthiest-community in all of
>So what is the secret of this island and its superannuated villagers? The
>climate? The food? The lifestyle?
>Simple Living, With Sake
>The folks here will tell you it's  really no secret at all.
>At 75, Chuichi Yamamoto still works almost every day of the year as a
>commercial fisherman. And his wife, a youthful 71, still prepares every
>meal: Fish, fresh vegetables, steamed rice. No processed food and no
>preservatives-just the way they've always eaten here.
>Chuichi even drinks a half bottle a day of sake, Japan's traditional rice
>They are perfect examples of what the Japanese call genki, meaning "happy
>and healthy." They credit their diet-low-fat, high in fiber and calcium-and
>the fact that they stay active.
>"We live longer," the Yamamotos say, "because we eat well and stay active."
>Health professionals couldn't agree more.
>"Active" is an understatement: Many elderly here still work in the fields,
>well into their 80s and even into their 90s. The Haras (she's 88 and he's
>90) are just one of the hard-working senior couples in Towa.
>Others keep busy with volunteer work, like 80-year-old Tsurue Inokowa, who
>makes box lunches for those who can't care for themselves.
>It Takes A Village
>Yes, even here, people eventually do become too old and too weak to work.
>But the aging process clearly slows down in the temperate climate and
>low-stress, health-conscious environment of Oshima Island.
>In fact, people who have moved here from other places say they've seen
>their medical bills shrink by 15 percent.
>But there's still something more than the healthful food, climate and
>activity to these islanders' long lives.
>Shizuo Niiyama, head monk at the Haku-Seiiji Bhuddist Temple, contends
>there's a powerful sense of community in Towa that contributes to one's
>well-being. That sense of belonging eases the fear of growing old and
>contributes to everyone's well-being.
>"People here lead simple and contented lives; always cheerful, always ready
>to help one another," Niiyama says. "This is truly a unique and special
>But not so unique, he adds, that its successes cannot be duplicated elsewhere.
>--from the ABC News web site:

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