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Thread: Orders to Okinawa, Japan

  1. Old Newbie
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    #1

    Orders to Okinawa, Japan

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    So, DH got orders 3 weeks ago that we are going to oki in a couple monthd. What should we bring? What's housing/ government furniture like? We have never lived on base before in general. What's the island/culture like? Is it hard for spouses to find a job? What about bringing our dog? We have began all the packet processing but I need to know everything lol!!
    Last edited by marinewife0311; 03-13-2016 at 11:20 PM.
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    #2
    Hi- DB was stationed in Oki for three years (2010-2013ish). Unfortunately, I only got to visit so I didn't get the full experience. Do you know what base you will be at? Some of them are huge and offer all of the conveniences and others are smaller (DB was at Schwab toward the north of the island). If you are on one of the larger ones, it feel like home and has shopping, gas stations, schools, etc. When he was leaving there was talk of closing some of the bases and expanding others, but I don't know how it worked out I found the people to be friendly and very family oriented. Our military has a long occupation history on the island, so sometimes the relationship is stained. A google search could turn up all those issues. DB spent a good part of his time on mandatory curfew. I would definitely get a pocket language book, DB used his often and its nice to at least make the language gesture when in town. The nice thing was that the island was small enough to visit and completely explore in a bunch of day trips and weekend trips. I think that most of the spouses we knew worked on base (and it was competitive). I don't think that getting a job out in town was feasible. I think that Oki is rabies free, so brining a dog is likely possible you just need the extra screening. I'm not sure about base housing and compatibility with pets. *warning- I only got to visit and our experience is a little outdated* BTW, everyone we know loved Oki and was sad to leave, you are up for an awesome experience!
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    #3

    I'm living in Okinawa right now-- been here since June of 2013 and it's an amazing experience IF you aren't afraid to step out of your comfort zone a bit

    Paperwork wise, they will tell you what to bring. Furniture wise, bring rugs! And a dehumidifier. They have both here, but there isn't a huge selection to choose from, and you can find much more at a cheaper price in the states.

    Housing is nice, depending on where you'll be living.
    --If your husband is stationed on Futenma or Kinser, you'll live on Kinser. That's where I live. Housing is old and moldy, unfortunately. Floors are a beige concrete tile that always looks dirty lol (that's where the rugs come into play ) The two bedrooms have a seperate laundry room, which is nice, but the living room and dining room are the same room and it's a bit of a tight squeeze, especially if you have a larger living room set. Three bedrooms have a separate dining area, but the laundry is in the kitchen. They are supposed to be updating, but they're doing it tower by tower so it will depend on when you get here and what rank your husband is. Higher Enlisted and Officer housing is currently being renovated I believe. I know Higher Enlisted housing is being pushed around right now, and the bigger homes for those with more than two children are also being or have already been renovated. The commissary here is smaller and doesn't have as many things as Foster or Kadena, but it's usually pretty crowd free and it means the staff will recognize you a bit easier so it's more personable, so that's a plus. The Exchange is pitiful haha. The shopettes on Kadena (air force base) are darn near bigger than the exchange here on Kinser lol!
    --If your husband will be working on Foster, you'll probably live on Foster or Lester. Those homes are mostly updated with laminate floors & dehumidifiers built into the a/c units. the Exchange is much bigger, and the commissary has a much better selection. It's also pretty centrally located between the big spots (Naha & Nago) and is a five minute drive from American Village (think outlet Mall... only the name is a bit of a lie because there are only a few American shops and they're food places )
    --If your husband will be on any of the Northern bases... I think those houses are updated, but it's a lot farther away from the main bases on island so if you want to go to the biggest exchange (Kadena) it can be a bit of a hike, especially during high traffic hours (and traffic here is pretty bad at all times lol)
    Check out Okinawa Home Inspiration when you move here (they only approve those who are actually on island, and only if they can see from their profile that their location is Okinawa) or one of the millions of Okinawa wive's pages (Wives of Okinawa, Again | USMC Wive of Okinawa | USMC Okinawa Spouses -- Those are the more populated pages, and then there are a bunch that are base specific as well.)

    Furniture is not super luxurious. Pretty outdated, and a medium colored wood. The sofas are super hotel looking and not super comfy, but if you prefer firm couches a slipcover will do wonders. The bedroom furniture gets the job done, but I suggest bringing your own mattresses, or buying lots of mattress toppers. There are furniture stores, but it is limited, and the Japanese furniture is a lot smaller than Americans are used to-- lower to the ground and not as bulky. People sell furniture a lot as well on the yard sale pages, but the good stuff goes quick so you'll have to be super duper on those pages to get anything good and you'll have to be patient as well.

    The island is GORGEOUS, and I cannot rave enough about the culture. There is SO much culture to experience here from food, shopping, and museums to castles & ruins, parks, beaches... you cannot be bored here unless you're unwilling to explore. Loads of farmers markets, tons of festivals and events to experience. The people are probably the nicest people on earth. There are protesters, but most of them are paid to be here by mainland corporations who don't like America's heavy presence on Okinawa. I cannot stress enough how many experiences you can have on such a small island. There is more to do on this island than there is to do anywhere I've ever lived before.

    It isn't TERRIBLY hard to find a job here IF you aren't picky. Mostly things like working at the CDC or commissary, or here and there they have positions open at banks and shopettes and things. They usually try to outsource a lot of jobs to give back to the community that we are in, but there are still plenty of jobs for dependents to work.

    Bringing your dog is a bit tricky, but 100% do-able. A lot of airlines no longer fly dogs but a few weeks a year, so you have to secure the pet spot as soon as you are able to in order to make sure they ahve a place. Otherwise you are looking at like $1500 and up to ship them here. They have to go through quarantine (your vet can explain that) and you'll have to deal with kenneling and transportation services out of pocket if you aren't lucky enough to get a spot on the plan the day you leave for Okinawa.

    Be sure to look into Facebook groups-- they are life savers. And make sure your husband gets a sponsor as soon as possible to help your transition be easier. If your sponsor sucks, demand a new one. Sponsors are a key part of setting up for a positive experience!

    be cool.
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    #4
    Thank you both for the insight. We will be on Foster I do know that. What is the likelihood of pepole being able to get pet allowed housing?
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley. View Post

    I'm living in Okinawa right now-- been here since June of 2013 and it's an amazing experience IF you aren't afraid to step out of your comfort zone a bit

    Paperwork wise, they will tell you what to bring. Furniture wise, bring rugs! And a dehumidifier. They have both here, but there isn't a huge selection to choose from, and you can find much more at a cheaper price in the states.

    Housing is nice, depending on where you'll be living.
    --If your husband is stationed on Futenma or Kinser, you'll live on Kinser. That's where I live. Housing is old and moldy, unfortunately. Floors are a beige concrete tile that always looks dirty lol (that's where the rugs come into play ) The two bedrooms have a seperate laundry room, which is nice, but the living room and dining room are the same room and it's a bit of a tight squeeze, especially if you have a larger living room set. Three bedrooms have a separate dining area, but the laundry is in the kitchen. They are supposed to be updating, but they're doing it tower by tower so it will depend on when you get here and what rank your husband is. Higher Enlisted and Officer housing is currently being renovated I believe. I know Higher Enlisted housing is being pushed around right now, and the bigger homes for those with more than two children are also being or have already been renovated. The commissary here is smaller and doesn't have as many things as Foster or Kadena, but it's usually pretty crowd free and it means the staff will recognize you a bit easier so it's more personable, so that's a plus. The Exchange is pitiful haha. The shopettes on Kadena (air force base) are darn near bigger than the exchange here on Kinser lol!
    --If your husband will be working on Foster, you'll probably live on Foster or Lester. Those homes are mostly updated with laminate floors & dehumidifiers built into the a/c units. the Exchange is much bigger, and the commissary has a much better selection. It's also pretty centrally located between the big spots (Naha & Nago) and is a five minute drive from American Village (think outlet Mall... only the name is a bit of a lie because there are only a few American shops and they're food places )
    --If your husband will be on any of the Northern bases... I think those houses are updated, but it's a lot farther away from the main bases on island so if you want to go to the biggest exchange (Kadena) it can be a bit of a hike, especially during high traffic hours (and traffic here is pretty bad at all times lol)
    Check out Okinawa Home Inspiration when you move here (they only approve those who are actually on island, and only if they can see from their profile that their location is Okinawa) or one of the millions of Okinawa wive's pages (Wives of Okinawa, Again | USMC Wive of Okinawa | USMC Okinawa Spouses -- Those are the more populated pages, and then there are a bunch that are base specific as well.)

    Furniture is not super luxurious. Pretty outdated, and a medium colored wood. The sofas are super hotel looking and not super comfy, but if you prefer firm couches a slipcover will do wonders. The bedroom furniture gets the job done, but I suggest bringing your own mattresses, or buying lots of mattress toppers. There are furniture stores, but it is limited, and the Japanese furniture is a lot smaller than Americans are used to-- lower to the ground and not as bulky. People sell furniture a lot as well on the yard sale pages, but the good stuff goes quick so you'll have to be super duper on those pages to get anything good and you'll have to be patient as well.

    The island is GORGEOUS, and I cannot rave enough about the culture. There is SO much culture to experience here from food, shopping, and museums to castles & ruins, parks, beaches... you cannot be bored here unless you're unwilling to explore. Loads of farmers markets, tons of festivals and events to experience. The people are probably the nicest people on earth. There are protesters, but most of them are paid to be here by mainland corporations who don't like America's heavy presence on Okinawa. I cannot stress enough how many experiences you can have on such a small island. There is more to do on this island than there is to do anywhere I've ever lived before.

    It isn't TERRIBLY hard to find a job here IF you aren't picky. Mostly things like working at the CDC or commissary, or here and there they have positions open at banks and shopettes and things. They usually try to outsource a lot of jobs to give back to the community that we are in, but there are still plenty of jobs for dependents to work.

    Bringing your dog is a bit tricky, but 100% do-able. A lot of airlines no longer fly dogs but a few weeks a year, so you have to secure the pet spot as soon as you are able to in order to make sure they ahve a place. Otherwise you are looking at like $1500 and up to ship them here. They have to go through quarantine (your vet can explain that) and you'll have to deal with kenneling and transportation services out of pocket if you aren't lucky enough to get a spot on the plan the day you leave for Okinawa.

    Be sure to look into Facebook groups-- they are life savers. And make sure your husband gets a sponsor as soon as possible to help your transition be easier. If your sponsor sucks, demand a new one. Sponsors are a key part of setting up for a positive experience!

    This is great advice! We're also in Oki (I'm home right now visiting though) and it's BEAUTIFUL. I hope you enjoy it!
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by marinewife0311 View Post
    Thank you both for the insight. We will be on Foster I do know that. What is the likelihood of pepole being able to get pet allowed housing?
    They try really hard to accommodate for people who bring pets with them. It is unlikely you won't get pet friendly housing, but just be aware that if the housing percentage isn't above a certain percent for the two closest bases you are not allowed to deny housing because it isn't pet friendly :/ So make sure you have a back up plan on the off chance that they don't have pet friendly housing to offer you-- make sure you have a friend or family member who may be able to care for your pet while you're on island if they don't have pet friendly housing, and make sure you are financially able to send them back if you aren't able to keep them here.

    also, I COULD be wrong, but I believe the limit is two animals.

    be cool.
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    #7
    For Camp Foster, you will either live on Foster, Lester or Kinser, depending on rank and what's available.

    Bring your bed, microwave, dehumidifer, couch and living room rug.

    Finding a job is challenging, depending on what you are looking for.

    Most people either love or hate Okinawa. Before we came, everyone told us it is AWESOME, so we were pumped. Then we were majorly disappointed when we got here. We hated it. And I thought we were the only ones, until I started making friends, and realized that 90% of my friends also hate it here. It's a small island, so I don't consider it to be real Japan. Living around Foster, you'll see as many Americans as Okinawans.

    The good news is that after a year, I finally don't hate it anymore!! I've gotten used to it. I almost like it here. And there are people who absolutely love it here.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley. View Post
    They try really hard to accommodate for people who bring pets with them. It is unlikely you won't get pet friendly housing, but just be aware that if the housing percentage isn't above a certain percent for the two closest bases you are not allowed to deny housing because it isn't pet friendly :/ So make sure you have a back up plan on the off chance that they don't have pet friendly housing to offer you-- make sure you have a friend or family member who may be able to care for your pet while you're on island if they don't have pet friendly housing, and make sure you are financially able to send them back if you aren't able to keep them here.

    also, I COULD be wrong, but I believe the limit is two animals.
    Thanks I hope so she's our baby!
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by be: pistachio View Post
    For Camp Foster, you will either live on Foster, Lester or Kinser, depending on rank and what's available.

    Bring your bed, microwave, dehumidifer, couch and living room rug.

    Finding a job is challenging, depending on what you are looking for.

    Most people either love or hate Okinawa. Before we came, everyone told us it is AWESOME, so we were pumped. Then we were majorly disappointed when we got here. We hated it. And I thought we were the only ones, until I started making friends, and realized that 90% of my friends also hate it here. It's a small island, so I don't consider it to be real Japan. Living around Foster, you'll see as many Americans as Okinawans.

    The good news is that after a year, I finally don't hate it anymore!! I've gotten used to it. I almost like it here. And there are people who absolutely love it here.
    Yeah thanks! everyone keeps saying how much we will love it but all I can say for right now is I know it will be a change!
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    #10
    Does anyone who is there know what the housing percent is for foster?
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