A Utopia on a Japanese Island

Ishigaki, Okinawa

Destination: Okinawa, Japan

Book: Island Story (NEW 2010) by Ayumu Takahashi

Hippie Commune or Utopia? With a “Hey kids, let’s put on a show” naiveté””, Takahashi returns from a round the world trip with his wife and says, “Why not build a self-sufficient village overflowing with music and art?”

Their cheerful belief never flags through eight sometimes discouraging years of searching for a place, recruiting  volunteers, learning needed skills, and finding resources. Despite early missteps that make enemies of the residents, the young transplants have, in fact, built a community, that still exists, and you can visit it today.

By 2008, Takahashi, then 36,  and the “founding fathers” have moved on to other things, which makes sense. As much as everyone might want to stay in their youth for every, the Peter Pan dreams can’t last for ever.

Early plans literally included a tree house, beach fort, and pirate ship all fueled by vast quantities of beer and punk rock.  Language in the book tends to the vacuuous, reverting to  words I haven’t heard strung together since the early seventies– “Vibes, cool, Wow, Yay!, Peace!”  The depth of the thought that went into the enterprise shows in this mantra:

Okinawa is wonderful

Nature is wonderful

Friends are wonderful

Life is really wonderful.

On the other hand, the book as novel as the enterprise, and shows gorgeous photography of Okinawa. Maybe I’m just too old and cynical. Cool!

Win a trip to Okinawa. Deadline August 25th. Go to One Peace Books, the publisher of this book, and publisher of other inspiration and picture-filled books.

About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

3 thoughts on “A Utopia on a Japanese Island

  1. I was there 43 years ago! It wasn’t a paradise then. It was home to 1 million American servicemen and their families, supporting the Viet Nam war, B-52s leaving on bombing raids in Southeast Asia. My son was born there 41 years ago. I just entered the contest — I would love for my son and one of his sons to be able to go to see Okinawa. I understand it’s changed!


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