Friday, 3 April 2009

Who Wants To Live Forever?

Japan famously has the one of the most freakishly long life-expectancies in the world, something like 78 for men and 85 for women. But the Japanese elderly don't just sit at home drinking green tea and passing on wisdom, oh no. They often lead very active lives. Frighteningly active lives.

Asahi TV showed the exercise regime of an 82 year old woman in Okinawa, who is more physically capable than I am. Asahi TV dubbed the Rocky-theme over the montage, but I like to believe she actually puts that music on the stereo when she exercises.

Following this work-out routine she hopes to live to 125.

Aso Taro is also holding back his 62 years through exercise. Last month he dismissed comments that he looks like he's gained weight by talking reporters through his exercise routine of 50 sit-ups, push-ups and back-exercises a day, with stretches and morning-walks. "My weight hasn’t changed since I became Prime Minister. My body-fat ratio is 15-16 percent", he said. Of course this officially puts his body-fat ratio higher than his approval rating. Maybe if he spent a little less time on his figure and a little more on his job, eh?

Aso's "No-Pain-No-Gain" Face

A very different picture of elderly vitality is painted by Tokuda Shigeo. A 74 year old retired travel-agent, he's starred in over 300 hardcore porn films. Apparently "mature porn" is a "fast growing niche market", and since his nearest rival died at the age of 90 Tokuda's been raking it in.

The oldest female porn star he's co-starred with is 72 year old Ito Fujiko, but of course in the vast majority of his films he works with women five decades younger. He's managed to keep his job a secret from his wife, grandson and one of his two children, despite the fact that he gives interviews and appears in publicity for the company making the films, G's Spot Co.

And the world's oldest living man, Tanabe Tomoji, is still going strong at the age of 113, having accrued eight children, 25 grandchildren, 54 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren along the way. He was born on the 18th of September 1895, and attributes his long life to an abstinence from alcohol, drinking milk every day, and eating healthily. Although, at his 112th birthday he said, "I want to live forever, I don't want to die", and on his 113th birthday he said, "I am happy, I eat a lot, I don't want to die", so it sounds like he's living on sheer willpower. Here's a video of him a few days before his 113th birthday.

So which is the best way to live a long life? Is it frequent exercise, having absurd amounts of sex, or nurturing a consuming fear of death? And who's willing to participate in a scientific test of them? I've got dibs on Method Two.