National Geographic : 1993 Jun
Geographica Okinawa: A Terrific Place to Grow Old If it's long life you're after, consider Okinawa. Relative to total population, five times as many people on that island chain live to the age of 100 as in the rest of Japan-and Japanese live longer than any other nationality on the planet. In fact, by the year 2000 some 20 percent of all Japanese will be 65 or older, compared with about 13 percent in the United States. A 16-year study of Okina wa's 1.2 million residents turned up 390 who had reached the age of 100. No wonder Okinawans annually celebrate Older People's Day. Though some may be blessed with genes that protect against diseases linked with aging, most older Okinawans owe their longevity to factors over which they have some control: diet, life-style, and attitude. Okinawans eat a low salt, low-fat diet, featur ing local fish and huge amounts of tofu and sea weed. And they haven't lost their zest for life: 108-year-old Genkan Tonaki (right), an Oki nawan who is Japan's oldest man, only recent ly stopped proposing to his nurses, such as Yu miko Nohara, at right. Heisatalossto explain his longevity: "It's the kind of thing I cannot tell you, because life is given by heaven." Tonaki worked in sugar cane fields until retiring at 85. He admits he gave up drinking six bottles of beer a day and now drinks hot water instead. Makoto Suzuki, a cardiologist studying the Okinawa centenarians, and Faith Boucher, of the Univer sity of California at Davis Medical School, found that many older Okinawans are active and creative. "They're still composing music, making clothes, and singing songs instead of just sitting around," Boucher says. Two Billion Copies: A Figure Fanatic's Feast Somewhere out there, someone reading these words holds the two-billionth copy of NATION AL GEOGRAPHIC to be printed and bound in Corinth, Mississippi, since magazine production moved there in 1977. Three offset presses and two gra vure presses of the Corinth Division of Ringier America, Inc., print about ten million copies of the NationalGeographic, June 1993 "I've just been informed that this new Mercury Villager is outselling our minivan. You're my top designers and I want action. "Iwanta minivan with a sliding rear seat. "Iwant a minivan with standard anti-lock brakes. 'And Iwant a minivan that's fully equipped, comfortable, and drives like a Mercury!" SCOTTLYNNRILEY magazine each month, using nine million pounds of paper and 685,000 pounds of ink. Two bindery lines, each 375 feet long, bind a total of 40,000 copies an hour. How much is two billion NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS? A typical copy is a quarter of an inch thick and weighs 12.5 ounces. The two billion magazines printed in Corinth have a total weight of 780,000 tons. Laid end to end, they would stretch all the way to the moon and a third of the way back toward earth. Edge to edge, they would cover an area one and a half times the size of Manhattan. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC was printed and bound in Washington, D. C., from 1888 until 1959, then in Chicago until the move to Corinth, a community of 12,000. About 270 of the Ringier America plant's 790 employees work full time in producing the magazine.