Island Newbies

NEW TO OKINAWA? START HERE!

So you’ve just found out that you’re moving to Okinawa, or maybe you’ve recently arrived, baggage and ticket stubs in hand, and a bit out of your element.  Either way you’re probably thinking, “NOW WHAT?

Have no fear: you’re in the right place!  This page is all about links, from the official government-operated websites to the great posts we’ve published here, all filled with the helpful information you need to help you sleep at night.  Once you’ve gotten over your jet-lag, that is.  You’ll find everything you need to help you with your move, from the days when you’re just beginning to process the news, during the move, and once you’ve gotten settled in.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and read, read, read.  Don’t forget to peruse all the comments, as our readers have contributed many valuable insights over the years.

Mensore!

Joining A(n Online) Community
If you’ve found us here, you’re already Internet savvy.  We have several ways for you to communicate with the rest of our readers.  Read here to find the best outlet for YOU.

Getting Ready
How to be a great Sponsor (and sponsoree)
Wondering what household goods to bring with you?
Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?
Tips on traveling overseas with kids
PCSing with pets (and How Do I Get My {Insert Pet Here} To Okinawa?)
PCSing from US to Okinawa with dogs as cargo (Patriot Express)
PCSing from US to Okinawa with dogs in-cabin (Patriot Express)
PCSing from US to Okinawa with dogs (commercial flights)
PCSing with a motorcycle
Can you DITY move from Okinawa to the states?

Housing Questions
What is on-base housing like? (and the official DOD Okinawa Military Family Housing website, with floor plans )
Sneak peeks at on-base housing options
Sneak peeks at off-base housing options
What does that government furniture look like?

Other Big Concerns:
Where do you go for off-base healthcare?
Birth options on Okinawa? (Also see our Pregnancy & Childbirth-related posts)
School Index (encompassing everything from preschools, to DoDDS schools, off-base grade schools and homeschooling groups)

PCS: Positive Change of Scenery series: I, IIIIIIVVVIVII, VIII, and IX

Newlywed PCS: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Final Moments: PCS to Oki via Seattle

Finding Your Okinawa Groove (Upon Arrival)
You made it! Not sure if anyone told you but you get to drive on the left side of the road. You think you’re going to freak out, but you can do it, even if you do still turn on your windshield wipers on perfectly sunny days when you meant to use your turn signal…

Car Buying and Driving Tips
Need a copy of the driver’s license test study guide? Who issues my SOFA license?
Where can I buy a car? (And more, HERE)  And info about the Lemon Lots
Where can I rent a car?
Online maps of Okinawa
What is JCI?

Phone and Internet Options
What are our home phone and cell phone options?
Verizon Phone Service on Kadena
Phone Calls – DSN Numbers
Off-Base Internet Options

Setting Up House
Where do you buy affordable items to furnish and decorate your homes?
Eagle Hardware/Self Help Store
Just how do you hang stuff on the cement walls?
Curtains for Foster Tower Housing
Where to go to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure (and vice versa)

Going to Work
Running a business – out of your home or off-base
Working On-Base
Volunteer Opportunities

Getting the Okinawa Groove (The First Six Months)
Your personality will play a huge role in how long it takes to get your groove here. Some people jump right in and find their way. Others take a little longer to make friends and feel at home. If you are having a hard time, don’t give up hope. This site and our other online communities are here to help. Find a playgroup, church, gym, or volunteer.  Okinawa has a lot of options; if you don’t click with the first group you meet, try another one.  It may take time, but you’ll eventually find your fit.

What to do – and who to contact – in an emergency on Okinawa

How To Win Friends and Influence People
What is culture shock, and how do I deal with it?
Where To Worship Index
Learning the Language: Japanese Language

Social Options for Stay-At-Home Moms (and kids!)
Stroller Strides
Stroller Warriors
Alligator Steps
Coffee and Coloring

Those who stay home without kids
Getting and staying fit:  One, Two, Three, Four

Learning To Love It Here, Even When It’s Tough
Why I Love Okinawa: Ichi, Ni, San, Yon

Getting out and about
Listing all the posts we’ve accumulated over the years would be too extensive to put here, so be sure to check out the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the page under “To Do” to find oodles of activities to keep you busy for your entire tour.

If you need inspiration to get out and try new foods, rather than the familiar on-base standbys, read this post on Adventures in Going Out To Eat, then check out all three of our To Eat Indexes: alphabetical, by cuisine, and by location.

Kids getting stir-crazy?  Take ’em to a beach.  Or to a playground.  Or somewhere inside to get them out of the house.

Keeping the Okinawa Groove
It’s a small island and it can feel claustrophobic sometimes, especially during the rainy season. The cure for that is to try out new restaurants, explore new parks, and if you can afford it, travel, travel, travel to some awesome destinations. That’s where the rest of this website comes in. Go forth and use our blog to search out cool things to do, new places to eat, and great things to buy. If you happen to come across something we haven’t posted please write it up and submit it to the blog. And in doing so you’ll help someone else keep the groove.

Where do you park your car when you fly off-island? (And Part 2)
Tips for traveling off-island
Space-A: One, Two, Three
Moving from on-base to off (or vice versa)?  These posts have a ton of great info about how to do it:

Must I Really Leave? (On Your Way Out:)
It’s bound to happen sooner or later.  Maybe you’ve lived out your three-year tour and it’s time to go.  Perhaps you’ve gotten a curtailment and you’re leaving a bit ahead of schedule.  Or maybe you were exceptionally lucky, and you’re finishing up an extended tour that’s let you live in this one place for longer than most of us military-folks will know during a career.  Either way, it’s time to say sayonara to this lovely island.  Here’s what we’ve learned about PCSing back to the good old USofA from Okinawa:

PCS Season in Okinawa

Meredith’s Big PCS: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI

Moving OCONUS to… OCONUS? Follow Sarah’s journey here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

PCSing with Pets FROM Okinawa to the States
Skipping Animal Quarantine in Hawaii
And some handy reader-offered links to perhaps help with the getting home of your pets, courtesy of THIS POST:
Kennel Okinawa
Puppy Travel (Pet Travel Agency)|
Karing Kennels

When your Okinawa days are numbered: 45 More

Handling The Reality Of Not Having “Done It All”


Have you found other posts on our site that should be added to this page? Send an email to our Content Editor and we’ll get it up here!