Jeanne was kind enough to share her impressions of Okinawa, Japan and Kadena AB. Thank you, Jeanne. She says: “Can you tell I love it? I will hate to have to leave” Reading what she wrote makes me want to move there. Look for part 2 the next few days.
Kadena Air Base – Okinawa Japan We have been here since November 2008. We are an army family and he works on Kadena but all our admin stuff is done at Torii Station.
This is his first duty station. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be living in Japan for three years. All through AIT they were told that no one from that class would be stationed overseas so we were really shocked when orders came down. We only had about a month to get everything done to get here. It was hectic but can be done.
We left Pennsylvania the day before Thanksgiving and drove to Baltimore, MD to put our car in storage. Stayed at the hotel at the airport that night and flew out of BWI Thanksgiving morning. We transferred in Chicago and the nice people at United upgraded our seats (for free) to economy plus so we had extra leg room for the longest part of our trip.
We landed at Narita Airport in Tokyo on Friday and the nerves started. We were told that we had to get our baggage, go through immigration and customs, turn the baggage back in and go to our gate for the last part of the trip to Okinawa. We didn’t have to worry about getting lost. The signs are in Japanese characters and English. Plus there are always some Americans you can follow. lol We flowed through the two stations without a problem. OH and because we usually PCS overseas with tons of luggage and sometimes 4 legged kennels, you will be glad to know that luggage carts are free and plentyful.
Landing in Okinawa and walking to the baggage claim is a beautiful welcome to the island. You come off the plane and there are beautiful orchid plants everywhere. Just a hint of the beauty found on this island. Getting our luggage and making our way out to find our sponsor was easy.
There was no room at the on-base lodging so we were put up at an off base hotel. Very Japanese and we loved it. The Hamagawa Lodge is right outside gate 1 of Kadena AB. We had three bedrooms, and a large area that had the kitchen, dining area and living room with a large balcony with clotheslines. The bathroom was strange to us. The toilet was in it’s own little room. The top of the toilet where we are used to seeing the tank lid was a sink. When you flushed the toilet, the water came out the faucet so you could wash your hands and then ran down a hole to fill the tank. The rest of the bathroom was a large room containing the sink, a Japanese washer and a very deep but small tub with shower.
The maid had to show me how to use the washer.
Driver’s licenses are pretty easy to get. You will not be able to ship your own POV here so be prepared to buy a car here. Save up some money so you are prepared. They have a lot of cars on the lemon lot that you can buy from people leaving for cash. Some of the car dealers off base do some financing. We bought two cars when we got here. Most all the cars are very small. Husband’s car is a little Toyota and cost $1500. Mine was a little Subaru van and was about $2000.