tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN December 25, 2015 12:00am-1:01am PST
♪ what does it mean to be strong? it implies hardness and flexibility. okinawa is a place with a fighting tradition. a history of ferocious resistance. but it's nothing like what you might think. not at all. ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this
beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha la la la la ♪ sha la la la la la ♪ sha la la la la ♪ sha la la la la la la ♪ this is okinawa. just south of mainland japan. for all the relative rigidity of the mainland, okinawa answers in its own unique way. don't eat the same thing each day. that's boring. there's even an okinawan term for it, champuru, something mixed. bits borrowed from all over,
served up for anyone to eat. maybe you're more familiar with the name, okinawa, from this, as the setting for some of the most horrifyingly bloody battles of the second world war. how horrifying? for the allies there were more than 50,000 casualties with around 12,000 killed or missing in action over nearly three months of fighting. more than 100,000 japanese soldiers and okinawan conscripts were killed defending the island. civilians were stuck in the middle of the two armies and got crushed. no one will know for sure, but historians estimate 150,000 men, women, and children lost their lives during the battle. what most don't know is that okinawa had only become japan fairly recently. that to a great extent okinawans didn't even consider themselves really japanese or vice versa. that okinawans and japanese considered themselves to be different ethnicities, spoke two
different languages and culturally, culinarily, and many other ways looked in different directions. yet, okinawans were asked to make the ultimate sacrifice, and they did. that's not just ancient history. it informs the present, still. okinawa is the largest of over 100 islands making up the ryukyu island chain. it's just over 300 miles from the mainland, but worlds apart. okinawa is different. it's tropical. clear waters. some of the best beaches in asia. to the decidedly more laid back, less frenetic, self-serious attitude than the mainland. you can feel it. you can see it. it's just different here.
2,000 pounds of heavily muscled beef enters the arena. you can feel the ground shake under its heavy hoofs. his opponent awaits. togyu, also known as sumo, yes, but bull sumo. these are professionals, and like jake lamotta and chuck wepner before them, they shall live to fight or do other stuff another day. having shed decidedly less blood than either of those two gentlemen. two animals, two handlers. and they do like the job in rocky. fighters are sumo, the bulls are ranked by their ability. their record in the ring.
the highest being yokozuna. this is kenny aman. he lives up the road. is there a time limit or do they go until somebody gives up? >> i think they pretty much go until somebody gives up. when it gets -- >> a points system? >> no, no, there's no points system. basically when the other one turns around and runs away, that's the winner. few times one bull will actually get around to the side and actually be able to flip the bull over. >> right. win or lose or survive? both? >> once in a while you'll have injuries, but most of the times the bulls go home. >> they go home to be happy. >> they do. >> nobody's turned into steaks or cutlets. >> no. >> togyu started as early as the 17th century with farmers pitting bull against bull. they love it in agricultural communities so much like this it was briefly banned in some places because farmers were spending too much time at the fights and not enough time growing sugarcane. like cus d'amato in the young
tyson, their handlers raise these beasts from calfs, training them, conditioning them to be monsters in the ring on the other. yeah. does one wager on this? >> i guess the official answer would be that gambling's illegal in japan, but -- >> intermission. time for a corn dog, some funnel cake, curly fries? no. better. much better. yakitori. yes, they have that. but when in okinawa, do as the okinawans do, yak soak --
yakisoba. start with pork belly as one should. cabbage, carrots, fry that up on the griddle, add noodles, sauce, soy, mirin, vinegar and a bit of sake. top with a bit of pickled ginger garnish and eat. and now. >> oh, he looks impressive. oh, yeah. >> oh, he's ready to go. this guy i think is going to win this one. >> we haven't seen his opponent. oh, yeah. my money's on him. ♪ ♪ >> pretty decisive win at that.
i'm not accusing anybody of gambling, but i see some money changing hands. if he can do it, i can do it, goddamn it. ♪ >> if you're looking for sushi or ramen, you of course, find them in okinawa. but what you need to know, what you must know is that in okinawa, pork is king. okay, they got tofu, too. here at oruzun, they do specifically okinawan food the okinawan way. >> this is the tofu. >> okay. >> which you eat a little at a time. >> is it that strong? >> it is a little strong, yeah. it has, like, a cheese type of texture. >> it's good. >> not bad, right? >> it is like blue cheese.
ah, pork belly? >> yes. >> okinawans love pork. every part of the magical animal, the pig. at oruzun, the pork belly is slowly cooked in stock heavily infused with bonito flakes. the ears are are simmered until tender, thinly sliced and and dressed in rice wine vinaigrette. and the ribs, after brianing in sake and seasons are slowly roasted. so you grew up in new jersey. how did you find your way to okinawa? >> well, my mom was from here. my dad was in the navy. >> uh-huh. >> he was stationed here. met my mom and wound up back in new jersey because that's where my dad was from, paterson. and i was born and raised there. the school i went to was
predominantly caucasian kids. there wasn't many asian-americans at all. >> right. >> and i always had this kind of like identity complex. there would be, like, times where people would come to the house. they'd say, oh, where's your mom from? is she from china? >> oh, god, right. >> open the refrigerator and there would be some weird food. hey, what's that? every time i heard that, i was like, wow, am i, like, am i different? so one day my mom says, we're going back to okinawa on a family trip. i was 17 years old. >> you'd never been up to that point? >> no, but when i got off the plane, i don't know what it was. it was like, i'm here, this is my home. being able to connect my heritage, i felt something. i was like, wow, i belong here. >> how about the food? what was in that refrigerator? because i know a lot of kids who grew up with that same sort of
uncertainty when they brought their friends home from school to their house and opened the refrigerator. you know, kimchi or cabbage or fish sauce. they were aware of it when they visited their friends. >> sure. >> and they were acutely uncomfortable with it when their friends came over. man, have things changed as far as attitudes, pretty much the engine of the new american cuisine, are kids with childhoods like yours. i don't mean what's hip, what's the next new thing. i mean, literally redefining what is american cuisine. let's put it this way. the central irony of this story is that, you know, your mom would have been, like, hipster hero of new jersey now.
the ring of island fortresses protecting japan 300 miles away. >> on april 1st, 1945, a u.s. invasion fleet of nearly 1,500 ships, a landing force of 182,000 people, that's 75,000 more than normandy, approached okinawa. what came next was what okinawans called a typhoon of steel. having island hopped across the pacific, allied forces saw okinawa as a key base for fleet anchorage, troop staging and air operations for the final push into the japanese mainland and victory. the fighting was brutal for both sides. the cost in lives and resources for the allied forces was tremendous. and when it was over, military planners looked at the mainland, looked at what okinawa had cost them, and projected even more appalling losses.
what came next, we all know. what is not widely known is that more people died during the battle of okinawa than all those killed during the atomic bombings of hiroshima and nagasaki. so they had to keep the military forces as long as possibility in okinawa so they could prepare the defenses to protect mainland japan. so ever since that battle of okinawa, okinawan people say we were sort of, what do you call it -- >> sacrificed? >> yes. uh-huh. >> masaharu ota is the former governor of okinawa.
in 1945 he was a young conscript in the japanese imperial army. he fought hard and bravely against the allies until he saw japanese soldiers murdering okinawans for food and water and his faith melted away. getowan is a private home turned restaurant serving very traditional okinawan dishes. in honor of their outspoken former governor, the restaurant has prepared a dish typically served to royals and vips in what was once the ryukyu kingdom. it's called tundabun after the dish the multi bite-sized portions are presented in. >> let's eat. >> that's very good. there's some squid. swordfish wrapped in seaweed and simmered in stock and fermented
sake. dried sea snake wrapped in kombu and slow simmered. burdock root wrapped in pork loin and slow cooked in stock. okinawan taro, flash cooked and dressed with sugar and soy. and shoulder dredged in black sesame then steamed. you have described that you were shocked and surprised to see the japanese soldiers, their treatment of okinawans was not good during the battle. >> after the united states forces abandoned okinawa, the head of the okinawan defense
force issued the order regardless of military people or civilian, you cannot use other than standard language. and if you use the okinawan language, you will be killed as a spy, you know. >> right. >> but the okinawan people could not understand the language. so the japanese killed lots of local people, you know. >> particularly given the experience of the war, how japanese do you think most people feel here? >> there's a fundamental difference between japanese culture and okinawan culture. >> japanese culture is warrior culture. but okinawan culture is absent. >> do you think that easygoing, that reputation, that tradition of being happy-go-lucky, do you think this has led to okinawans being taken advantage of? i mean, for instance, the u.s.
military bases. okinawa is 1% of the landmass of japan, and yet what percentage of the military bases are here on okinawa? almost all of them. okinawa seems to be asked to make a lot of sacrifices for the mainland. will that ever stop? >> you are talking about nimby. >> not in my backyard. >> yes, yes.
for a place with as bloody a history, okinawa is today noticeably more laid back than the mainland, but that does not mean everybody's forgotten their warrior traditions. when the feudal satsuma empire from the mainland invaded okinawa in 1609, they banned the carrying, manufacture or use of weapons of any kind. the ban was later reinforced in 1879 when japan formally annexed the island. it's believed these prohibitions led directly to the development of a new style of martial art, undisputedly born in okinawa, karate, or empty hands technique. ♪
and its even more vicious cousin, kobudo, a form that uses farm and fishing tools for lethal effect. hard and soft, balanced. for everything soft, there must be something hard. it is one of the main traditional styles of karate. featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. hard linear attacks. closed hand strikes and kicks. ju means soft, open hand, circular, blocking, sweeping, and take-down movements. sensei hokama is legendary. master. people come from all over to study at his dojo. the training they get is hardcore.
i've been invited to watch hokama sensei's students warm up. let me repeat. this is only the warmup. that does not look like fun. the exercises are designed to repeatedly punish your hands and feet, building up longer, stronger, more protective deposits around the bones, basically weaponizing even your weakest and smallest extremities, and it hurts even to watch. >> this is bad. >> james pankovich, brit and black belt in karate, moved to okinawa in 2009 to study the way of martial arts.
he acts as translator for most of the karate sensei on the island. earlier i met james at a public market in okinawa's largest city, naha. >> that's the tasty one. right. we'll take that one. >> what are these? >> these are puffer fish. so we got some deep fried fish for us. >> the unofficial national fish of okinawa, and porcupine fish, both battered and deep fried. >> going to do sashimi. >> okinawans eat any fish sashimi fish. for us snapper and parrot fish. because one must, served raw and still twitching in the shell. >> we're going to get some sea grapes as well. >> good, good, that's super traditional. sea grapes. the classic regional side dish dressed in rice vinegar. what you buy downstairs from vendors, for a small fee
restaurants will cook it for you upstairs. >> wow. wow. so, okinawa's most famous export, perhaps, is karate. >> uh-huh. >> when most of us think of karate, we think of striking. exclusively. is that an accurate representation of what you're doing? >> from the basis of okinawan karate, it was used primarily as defensive art. in other words, being able to, you know, control and subdue the opponent. usually if you could in a humane way, but then if you had to finish them, then you had the ability to finish them. the striking is important, but a lot of the technique is not about striking. it's about submission techniques. some of that is to do with kyusho, attacking nerve points.
in particular is extremely skilled at dealing with, you know, bigger, stronger opponents. >> human engineering. very important. point, point, point, point, point. and then this point. no gnaw natural, open. >> the demonstration of hokama sensei's open-hand kyusho technique becomes too real for my taste. human engineering with a terrifying logic, attacks the weak point. all i know how to do this situation, by the way, is poke hard and look for something to choke or lock. nope. apparently they don't know what tapping out means here.
because i was tapping like western goddamn union. i thought he was going to push that 79-year-old finger right into my brainpan. >> there was a saying in the old days if there was a fight happening somewhere in town, people would go and have a look, and say are they fighting with fists or open hands? if they're fighting with fists, it doesn't matter, it's an amateur fight. if they were fighting with open hands, they knew they were masters. here's a little healthy advice.
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on the eastern coast of okinawa -- yanks skber enter the village. >> the u.s. military came ashore in 1945 and to okinawans, it must seem like they never left. today, there are roughly 30,000 troops stationed on the island. put that many americans in a place, especially young, mostly male americans, many of them homesick, and it tends to change the environment. ♪ kin town just outside of naha right by camp hansen, one of the larger bases. >> fight inch by inch to conquer this island.
>> kin is a small slice of americana. both the mainstream america and its dark underbelly. the okinawans made the kind of adjustments people do when saddled with neighbors like thousands of marines. and sometime in the '80s adjusted food to we know it, a to this, a mutant closing argument classic. taco rice. >> taco and rice. that's taco rice. >> wow. >> it's big. >> is this chili sauce or ketchup? >> original taco. >> it's taco sauce. >> taco rice sauce. it's a bit spicy. >> oh, good. >> but not super spicy. >> vivian has lived in both the u.s. and okinawa and her aunt, sumiko, an entertainer who began singing in american bases after the war. wow, that's good.
there are dueling claims as to how taco rice might have morphed into existence, but in the 1980s american servicemen introduced the standard taco to okinawans and her grandfather decided to tweak them. dumping the fillings straight on to rice for the late night crowd of marines coming back from the bars. this unholy, greasy, starchy, probably unhealthy delight-turned-classic caught on big-time. for both americans missing home and locals. so i consider myself a pretty pro-military guy, but why are the marines here? look, i like marines, but, you know, i'm not robert mcnamara, but it seems to me if you go to war to china, sending in the marines are probably not what you're going to be doing. people of your age, what's your attitude to the military bases? >> as long as we're not living
near the base, it doesn't affect us that much. >> right. near the base it makes a difference? >> right. >> you know right away, i mean, it's got two parlors, strip clubs, vape shops. >> also, you know, it's very loud. that's a big issue. >> tourism is probably the future of okinawa. you have beautiful weather. beaches. if the bases leave, it's going to be big hotels and resorts and golf courses. which is worse? chinese tourists or american marines? >> i'll stick with the marines. >> semper fi. not everybody here agrees with vivian, by a long shot. okinawans may be easy going and
laid back, but the island is also a political hotbed of activism, provoked by what okinawans see as high handed treatment from a central government with different cultural and historical traditions who don't consider their needs or priorities. their hugely disproportionate shouldering of the u.s. military presence for the entire country. currently there are close to 30 military installations on okinawa, and even though it's one of the smallest japanese prefectures in terms of livable area, they accommodate more than half of the foreign military presence. even more problematic, much of okinawa's arable land suitable for farming on an island whose whole traditional identity is built around farming is eaten up by military bases. the military base issue, is this more important for older people or younger people? >> it's for older people. >> it's for the older people. >> yes. so when you actually go to a
place where they have, like, a protest going on, i will say over 80% of the people are all retired persons. >> why do you think this is? >> this is only my opinion, but japanese imperial army did a lot of brutal stuff on this island and war never ended for some people. and the feelings that they got suppressed, all of a sudden after they retired, they kind of burst and they wanted to kind of -- >> act out. >> act out. >> this is an okinawan farmer and this is a small noodle shop that bears only the owner's name and serves only okinawan-style soba. pork belly or ribs is the meat. the broth a mix of fish, chicken, pork, and vegetable stocks. okinawan soba differs greatly from what we know from the mainland. they use wheat noodles instead
of buckwheat, a nod to the spaghetti eating marines they lived with all these years. fish cake and omelet. add your pickled ginger and hot sauce hoorah. it seems the anti-base sentiment coincides with an anti-central government sentiment. you have an unusually disproportionate burden of bases. isn't some activism called for here? >> i think the young generation should decide what to do with our future instead of the old people just fighting for their beliefs. to me, i really feel a strong need to forgive. >> uh-huh. >> and then forget. and then move on.
long before the war, the americans arrived. long before the satsuma invaded from the mainland, okinawa was a kingdom. the ryukyu kingdom. a prosperous and peaceful island chain with no standing army. they were farmers, traders, and necessarily diplomats whose eyes more often than not looked west to china rather than to the more isolated mainland.
while japan as it existed then was isolationist, racially and ethnically, culturally and every other way, the ryukyu kingdom was not. they were more open, more multiculture, more used to and predisposed to dealing with the outside world and its influences. today, just a short ferry ride from the main island, a sense, a feeling of that long gone empire remains. kumejima is a small island that has been largely untouched by the changes in the world. people farm and fish as they always did. the war never came here? >> no. >> these are kumejima residents and friends of james. >> they suffered very little damage in the war. >> and no military bases. no american --
>> up until '72, there was an american base. >> there was. >> but then in '72, the base was taken away. >> now nothing. >> only the japanese self-defense forces now. >> what do people do here? agriculture? growing sugarcane? >> tourism. fishing. >> have there been attempts to develop here and have the locals been able to resist that impulse? >> they have rich lives. they have everything they need. they have produce from the land, from the sea. they don't need much else. >> i've been invited to a beach barbecue, kumejima style. go big, or go home. to eat some fresh caught tuna
that comes straight from the market to be butchered into sashimi. also caught this morning, some sea snails for the grill, and mozuku, seaweed which can be cooked but today is enjoyed raw. and local prawns eaten either raw or grilled, or both. that looks awesome. off with the head? there's more. local beef grilled and then tossed with moyashi, seasoned bean sprouts. we will need our energy, it appears. it is as old school a martial art as it gets. no ring, no octagon. the rules are simple. known as okinawan sumo -- >> whoa. >> -- it looks easy.
so i've given up many vices in my life. many shameful, filthy, guilty pleasures that i used to like that i will -- that i just don't do anymore. cocaine, heroin, prostitutes, the musical stylings of steven tyler. i put aside these childish things, as it were. in favor of a newer, more mature me. but there is one shameful secret. one thing i just can't give up.
one thing i keep coming back to every time i come back to japan. one thing that still has an unholy grip on me. for no reason that i can gather. it's the convenience store formerly of mere akron, ohio, that mutated into a massive japanese chain. behold the wonder that is lawson. what is it exactly about this place? it's got its tentacles to deep into my heart and myself. ♪ where are you? i know you're around here somewhere. pillows of love. egg salad from lawson.
need a beverage. ♪ >> in naha, you would be advised to avoid international avenue unless you're homesick for fellow americans. head down the side streets, shuttered storefronts give way to packed izakayas. a few beers, and the good times begin. people go out here. and after pounding your fists and feeding on meat hooks and shitting out chips, you can drop by dojo bar, james's refuge
where some of the island's most esteemed masters and their students come for what is recognized internationally as a cure for all martial-arts related ailment, alcohol. >> i think i would like a beer and maybe a shot of something. >> i do have a little shot of something. >> the sake is like the spirit of okinawa. >> is this sake or whiskey? >> this is sake. this is okinawa sake. like mainland japanese sake but then they distill it like whiskey. it becomes stronger and now it's aged. it's been in here with the snake maybe three years. the essence of the snake has gone into the alcohol. ♪ >> there seems to be a conflict of interest here. you train karate very seriously. >> yeah.
>> i mean, should you people be drinking? this is why i'm asking. where is the point of diminishing returns? >> many teachers who don't drink, but awamori is intrinsic to the okinawan culture. >> right. >> most enjoy awamori as part of their lifestyle, the same way karate is part of our lifestyle. they're saying, please eat. less talking, more eating. >> sashimi of, well, let's just say it's an animal you like. >> this is horse meat. >> horse? all right. good. and this? >> neigh. >> goat. oh, that's good.
>> pure protein for people who need it and pork belly, some pickled pigs ears, and baked yam. i watch a lot of mixed martial arts. i watch a lot of jujitsu. my daughter trains. mostly jujitsu, but some standup. some of the most exciting fighters that i've seen lately who really show the most heart are women. is there -- is there a future for women in karate? >> okinawa -- >> yaya. >> he has a female student here tonight. >> this is yaya. tony is asking what's the future for women in karate?
>> when i first started karate, i didn't know this world and now i'm learning karate, as the performance and also life. everything is all about love. and karate is showing you if you have this kind of power and the ability to perfect yourself, your family, you can be really kind. that's about okinawa. okinawa people, i think, always have this love to everybody. ♪ ♪
pity the salary man.' tokyo's willing cog in an enormous machine requiring long hours, low pay, total dedication. and sometimes, what's called karoshi, death by overwork. here in a society of tight spaces and many expectations, the pressure is on to keep up appearances, to do what's expected, to not let the interior life become exterio