Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The island of okinawa
Nathan works at the medical clinic on Kinser, the island's southernmost camp. He takes overnight call at the hospital at Camp Lester. We live just west of Camp Foster right on the seawall.
Okinawa is located southwest of mainland Japan, at 24-27 degrees north latitude and 122-128 degrees 30' east longitude. The prefecture consists of 161 islands of which 44 are inhabited and 117 uninhabited, and those islands span 1,000 kilometers from east to west and 400 kilometers from north to south. This chain is known as the Ryukyu Islands.
Okinawa can be found between mainland Japan and Taiwan in the Pacific Ocean and is considered an international resort destination. It is found in the same latitude zone as destinations such as Hawaii, Florida, and the Bahamas, therefore belonging to the world-class resort belt. The total land area of the Okinawa Prefecture is about 2,267.48 km2 or 922 square miles with Okinawa itself just being 108km or 67 miles long and about 3.2km-25.6km or 2-16 miles wide.
The only prefecture in Japan that is truly subtropical, Okinawa is a southern paradise where colorful flowers of the subtropics bloom the year-round. The sea that surrounds these islands has an emerald-green sheen, and the resplendent coral reefs are among the world's finest. With an annual average temperature of 23.4 degrees Celsius or 74 degrees Fahrenheit, Okinawa receives about 200cm or 82.7 inches of rainfall per year, making it wet and humid.
A seasonal wind blows from the south in summer and from the north in winter. Since Okinawa is located in a subtropical area, typhoons are a common occurrence in Okinawa and are likely to reach the island when at their peak. If you are from the East Coast of the United States, you might be familiar with hurricanes. In Okinawa, these tropical cyclones are called typhoons. If an area of low pressure with wind speeds higher than 17 meters per second is developed in the tropics, it is called a typhoon. Typhoon season in Okinawa is between June and November. The capital of Okinawa is Naha City in the southern part of the island. A 2004 estimate by the Okinawa Prefecture puts the population at 1,300,000 with 468,000 households.