It was about thirty-two years ago when my father told us we were coming to a place I had ever even heard of. When he first said Japan, I thought about the “Godzilla” movies and the Olympics. I never expected the long-haired youths of the ’70s. Another aspect of Okinawa that I never realized was how international it is. Anyone who knows the history of the Ryukyu Islands is familiar with the trade industry of the area due to its key location. In modern times there are little pockets of internationality spread throughout the island. The most visibly westernized area is probably the popular tourist spot of Mihama. But to really get an idea of the mixture of cultures on the island all one has to do is walk down Gate 2 Street in Koza (now known as Okinawa City). The businesses on the street provide a glimpse of an international cornucopia of cultures including Okinawa, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, America, the Philippines, and mainland Japan. The side streets off of and parallel to Gate 2 Street boast businesses of additional cultural backgrounds as well. Mihama may be the “American Village,” but the Gate 2 Street area in Koza is still “International Ville.”
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