Most than half of the people pick this out when they see the map for the first time. Mainly because, I think, it’s located at eye level and it’s very easy to recognize, because…well, it’s a pig’s face in the middle of a map.
The pig face is part of the characters that identify the city of Nago. When you drive pass Nago city hall, you will see a big black pig statue on your left. Under the statue, it said “あぐーの里”, which mean the town of Aguu.
Ton means pig in Japanese, and pigs domesticated in Okinawa is called Aguu. When you stay in Okinawa, you may be eating Aguu, and you don’t even know it. Its meat appears to be the same as regular pork. When you see a live Aguu, you will notice the difference right away.
In comparison to regular pig, Aguu is small, has dark fur. The original Ague lived in Okinawa for a long time. Tropical weather, unique and organic feeds produced local in Okinawa, plenty of space to run around, these three elements created a unique type of pig that has higher healthy acidic fat, which makes its meat taster and healthier for human.
Okinawans eat every part of a pig except its sequel. Okinawa also has some of the longest living human beings. See the connection?
Aguu almost went extinct after the battle of Okinawa during WWII. There wasn’t so much left to eat after the war either. Seven Okinawans who migrated to Hawaii use a navy fleet to ship 500 pigs across the Pacific to support folks back home. Thereafter, the Aguu has been rebred and it’s now 95% close to the original Aguu.
The 7 men who shipped 500 pigs on a navy fleet from Hawaii to support the people in war ruined Okinawa. (photo source: http://www.pref.okinawa.lg.jp)
If you want to learn more and interact with the Aguu, visit the Aguu theme park in Nago (Yes, there is a theme park for everything in Japan). There you can see live Aguus, pet them, and sadly, eat them. On the way, also try the famous sea salt ice-cream in Kyoda service station. If you are going in February, don’t miss the Sakura festival in central park Nago.
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