I have long taken an interest in how I might eat myself to old age. I visited the southern Japanese Okinawa islands whose population is said to include the largest proportion of centenarians in the country and met with some of them in what is supposedly the village with the oldest demographic in the world, Ogimi, little more than a dirt street lined with small houses, home to more than a dozen centenarians. Old folk tended vegetable patches or sat on porches watching a funeral procession go by. My family and I dined on rice and tofu, bamboo shoots, seaweed, pickles, small cubes of braised pork belly and a little cake at the local “longevity cafe” beneath flowering dragon fruit plants. Butterflies the size of dinner plates fluttered by and my youngest son asked if there was a KFC.
—Michael Booth writing in The Guardian in 2013 about how Okinawa residents’ diets might account for the islands’ reputation as the “Land of the Immortals.”