National Geographic : 1955 Feb
288 Col. Norman D. King Santa Claus Wears Sandallike Getas When He Drops Down on Sunny Okinawa Each Christmas the Naha branch of the United Seamen's Service plays host to the underprivileged. Here Santa referees an apple-bobbing contest. He is the man of the hour to some children; others he frightens. The humor that we see in each others' ways has helped nurture a strong affection between the Americans and Okinawans. As we borrow habits of dress, food, and shelter, we also are exchanging more meaningful parts of our respective cultures. Last autumn, for instance, the Okinawans knew that we were curious about their O-Bon holidays, and the week after O-Bon they re enacted and explained parts of the ceremonies. Few of the islanders are Christians; how ever, we have noticed that each year they have become more enthusiastic over Christmas. Last year we attended a Yuletide party for the University of the Ryukyus faculty and their families. Everyone enjoyed the tree, the gifts, and the carols. Beyond the frills, we sensed that some Christmas associations are held in common by all people. A desire for peace on earth and good will toward men is a cry from the hearts of all. Though we have many differences, where the important aspects of life are concerned we have mostly similarities. We share with the Okinawans a love for and interest in our chil dren. We both want satisfactory food, cloth ing, and shelter. We demand open roads to knowledge. We desire employment opportu nity to provide for the needs of life. We must have good health. We wish a respect for religion. And after the devastation we have seen and they have known-we want peace. Notice of change of address for your NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE should be received in the offices of the National GeographicSociety by the first of the month to afect the following month's issue. For instance, if you desire the address changed for your April number, The Society should be notified of your new address not later than March first. Please give BOTH your OLD and NEW addresses, including your postal-zone number.