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It took a devil of a time before finally managing to locate the home of potter Paul Lorimer, the building tucked into a rural lane on the fringes of the Sashiki community on Okinawa Island’s southeast coast.

This is wild country, the fertile, well-watered flatlands coming to an abrupt halt against steep cliffs, limestone caves and mountain escarpments few people dare to explore. The lushness of the farms and kitchen gardens, bulging with banana fronds, trellises of dragon fruit and Okinawan herbs used in cooking and for medicinal purposes, belie the dangers of these fields, infested with the poisonous habu, a viper so venomous it is said that invading wartime U.S. Marines were more afraid of the snake than Japanese soldiers.

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