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Okinawa

Transcript

(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)

"They actually call them 'Okinawans' instead of 'Japanese' because it's a culture that Japan had kind of adopted, and they've had a lot of other cultures there mixed in, so it's really diverse. A lot of the Okinawans, they look more Pacific Islander. For those that are familiar—like your Laotian, Filipino, kind of like that. You can see it. But there's still a lot of culture from Japan there, so it's just like a fine mesh in between. Also, the differences in the accent; they actually have a specific language that's not Japanese, which sounds nothing alike. So if I were to tell you 'arigato gozaimasu,' they would say 'nifeedeebiru.' Nothing alike, not even similar. So it was really interesting. I looked into the culture more and more, and saw that they are their own people. They're not quite equal in the eyes of Japan in some other ways. But it's where everyone loves to come and visit. [laughing]"

A service member discusses Okinawan cultural differences.