There are 47 prefectures in Japan. Each prefecture has its own unique characteristics in terms of its history, nature, and culture which has formed a unique lifestyle and way of thinking. Some of it is unlikely to be accepted or understood by other prefecture's residents. Don’t you feel that it's interesting that even a small country such as Japan can still be divided into so many areas with different characteristics? Today, we are going to introduce you to the “Unique Common Sense” of Okinawa which cannot be found by just traveling there. This 2nd article will focus on the South Resort Kingdom, Okinawa Prefecture.

A slow-paced characteristic produced by "Okinawa time"

In Okinawa Prefecture, they don’t have the same concept of time as what we have on Japan's mainland. This is called "Uchinar Time" which means “Okinawa Time” in a dialect of the Ryukyu language. The time fixed for a gathering is actually the time they leave the house to depart to their destination. Therefore, no one will feel bad if they are late. Meanwhile, even if anyone is late for 30 minutes, no one will blame the latecomer and there is no need to apologize for being late.

This prefecture's characteristic is named "Tegerism" (meaning liberty or flexibility), or “Nankurunaisa” which is also a common sentence used by their residents which means “There is no need to care about a small thing or past incident”.

Okinawan people use their car even if it only takes 10 minutes to walk?! 

Okinawans hate hot weather as well as getting sunburned. The only public transport in Okinawa is the bus but the arrival time is never punctual. For such reasons, walking to a destination that takes more than 10 minutes is considered an impossible mission for them. Therefore, even though the area of each destination is not far, Okinawan people prefer to travel via car.

Huh? Are you serious? Okinawans cannot swim?!

Since Okinawa is surrounded by a beautiful sea, for sure you will have the perception that Okinawans like to swim in the sea. However, most Okinawans are not interested in sea activities and cannot swim. The only people who can dive are the fishermen. There are many reasons that cause this, which include no swimming pool in school, and that there is minimal opportunity to learn swimming from a young age. Even though the present schools do have a swimming pool and have a swimming class for the students, due to the shorter class time, there is still some difficulty for Okinawans to master their swimming skills.

There is a lot of "prefectural characteristics" that cannot be accepted and believed in other prefecture residents in Japan and some are not applicable in other prefectures. Please look forward to the next volume of this series! Next article we are going to introduce Osaka Prefecture!

If there is any prefecture you wish to understand further, kindly post your comment for us to read! We will interview the local residents from that prefecture and share some interesting and informative information!