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Okinawa, Japan
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Expedition Calendar

Voting results for
November 8, 2005

Learn about ikigai, one of cornerstones of Okinawan longevity
49% with 254 votes

Attend a sports day for seniors
42% with 218 votes

Meet a famous chef
9% with 50 votes

Blue Zones
Read dispatches from Blue Zones, our team of longevity experts.

*The expedition runs on weekdays only. The team will not post new voting ballots and dispatches on weekends.

Vote Now Daily Photo & Video Gallery Map Update Resources Home Dispatches
Photo & Video Gallery: November 8, 2005

Yesterday's winning vote sent us to meet seniors like Kame Ogido, 89, to learn about the Japanese word ikigai—"the reason for living." View video and photos, below, to find out more about this cornerstone of Okinawan longevity.
Click thumb- nails below to view video and photos.


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Video Transcript

Dan Buettner, Expedition Leader: In America we tend to break our adult life into two phases: work and retirement. But in Okinawa there is one word that encompasses everything, ikigai (eek-y-guy). It means the reason for which you wake up in the morning, or sense of purpose. Experts tell us that people with a strong sense of purpose have boosted immune systems, have lower stress hormones, and they are able to grapple with the difficulties of life better than those who don't.

When we met Kame Ogido, we figured her ikigai was picking seaweed, instead, it was her friends, and the various activities she does with them.

In Okinawa, ikigai is a very personal experience, and it manifests itself in many ways.

In the traditional Okinawan language the word retirement doesn't even exist. What these people can teach us is the importance of having a strong reason to live. That reason as it turns out may even help you live longer.



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