Should It Have Stayed or Should It Have Come?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the many comments on this post we have closed comments.  If you want to learn more about housing options on Okinawa please look through our On Base and Off Base housing posts.  If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, you may want to join one of our online communities.  Thanks!

CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO

Packing for a big move stinks. As often as I’ve done it, I continue to make tragic decisions about what to pack. While I’m hunched over a sea of cardboard boxes, I inevitably pack for the perfect version of myself. The Meredith who will read all ninety of these books. The Meredith who will fit in these here clothes. You know the ones. The Meredith who will need every last cooking utensil and platter because she will entertain with all sorts of pizazz and ease. With every move you get to start over which I dig. However, I need to learn not to start over while I’m packing because the Meredith that arrives in her new home is going to stomp her angry feet over decisions that were made for her in a delirious moment back in that last house. She will not for a second appreciate that midnight decision to retire all her hooded sweatshirts because for a fleeting moment they didn’t seem grown up enough.

Other than packing most of my professional wardrobe despite not having a plan to work, we did fairly well overall. If I knew then what I know now about Okinawa, I would not have packed a wool coat or any vaguely winter attire.

And on the flip side, I would have packed anything and everything cotton or breathable or summery, because no matter how hot people told me it was, I didn’t really know because I have never been this hot EVER.

Also, we were encouraged not to bring any of our furniture. We obliged and I’m not sure I would make that choice again.

And your thoughts?


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228 Comments
  • February 14, 2012

    It looks like this string is still active. We applied for housing as we will be arriving July 2012. We emailed the Kadena Housing Office asking if a Cal King size bed would fit and “they didn’t recommend it”. Does anyone know this size bed will fit with a home on or off base? Appreciate the advice.

    brent B
    • February 19, 2012

      Brent,
      The age-old question: Will it fit? Without some glimpse into the future, no one can tell you! I’ve seen bedrooms on an off-base that would easily fit a Cal King bed and I’ve seen some that wouldn’t come close. Sorry if that’s not too helpful.

      sarah
    • February 22, 2012

      Used to be that no a cal king would never fit in a house off base. But now there are so many places off base built for the Americans that I do not think you will have a problem finding a place. I have a king and live down town and had no problem with it fitting. On base if you get a newly renovated place you may not have a problem but with the old housing you will have only walking space. The towers, or apartment high rises on base are big enough. Have been here twice total of 10 years so housing is changing to accommodate Americans.

      Debbie
  • December 28, 2011

    I don’t know if this has already been said, but I think the big thing to say is that if you bring too much (or too little) there is a website here that you can sell your stuff or buy that needed stuff (like a Craig’s list for military families). It’s http://www.okinawayardsales.com. We did not bring any of our outdoor toys for the kids with the expectations that we would have no yard and ended up living off base with a huge yard so in turn went to this website and bought up gently used playsets and playhouses to fill the yard up again for cheap. We successfully moved here with myself, my husband and three small kids and stayed under the 3,300 pounds allotted. It was very very hard with a lot of tears when sorting and purging but worth it in the end. We only brought our beds for furniture (which I HIGHLY encourage because the issued beds here are awful and the biggest I think it is a double). We are surviving with military issued furniture. Is our house looking like a floor model department store display….no….but hey it’s only three years and if anything we can always buy stuff out here!

    Kristin
  • December 28, 2011

    Chris plan to live off base. Camp Courtney and McT is the closest family housing to Schwab and they are both under a lot of construction right now. We moved this past summer here and they immediately sent us off base because there was no housing. With that in mind begin to save, save, save because you end up spending a lot of money up front, but we love being off base now!

    As for dance and gymnastics. I have my 3 year old daughter on the wait list for Kadena which is about 20 minutes from Courtney. The lady told me it was a 4 month wait because we were asking for a certain day (Saturday because my husband and I work). You can search for off base dance but it’s more expensive and Camp Courtney has dance for 5+ but it’s honestly in a room, no mirrors, just a radio so I don’t know how that is. They also had gymnastics sign ups at Kadena as well. It’s a little tougher at times living farther north on the island, but much quieter and well worth it just in the commute itself for you to get home to the family! Just plan to drive to pretty much anything living in “northern parts” when it comes to finding the “more American/military” things.

    Kristin
    • January 5, 2012

      Thanks Kristin!!

      chris
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  • August 15, 2011

    We will be moving to Okinawa in 2012. Husband will be stationed on Camp Schwab. Which bases will we likely get housing on? How are the home sizes? Husband will be an 05. Any feedback will be appreciated. I’m already making my ‘downsizing’ list. Also, I have 3 kids, 6 a 3 year girls and a baby boy. Where can they take gymnastics or dance? I don’t want to drive too far. Thanks!!

    Chris
  • June 6, 2011

    If you are going to be working at Camp Naha /port area, then you are definitely NOT going to want to live on Kadena. That will be an hour’s drive each way each day. I’m not even sure that the housing office will allow you to live there and commute that far anyway. Kinser will be your closest base with housing, but if you can manage it, I’d live off base. Foster is your second closest and that will be about a 30+/- commute if traffic cooperates.

    As far as what will fit and what won’t, that will depend entirely upon the housing you get. I literally cut my living sq-footage in half and I don’t think that is too uncommon. If you are even lucky enough to get housing with a yard where you could fit an 8×8, remember that we regularly get typhoons through here and you will need to be sure it is securely anchored against the winds. I don’t have a yard though, so I can’t tell you what the specific regulations are – but I’ve seen a few around.

    I’ve seen self storage advertised and checked out the prices, but it is expensive! I’d rather just get rid of my stuff than pay to store it here.

    If you get housing on Kinser, from what little I know about you/your situation, you would only rate a 3 bedroom tower. The 3 bedroom multiplexes are pretty hard to come by. You might get some options on Foster, but if they can put you Kinser, then that is what the housing office will prefer to do. If you’re lucky, it’ll be full and there won’t be anything available.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents on the matter. 🙂

    Jen
  • June 5, 2011

    What a great site! Thanks.

    Re typical room sizes, it appears a king bed will be okay. But what about a mid-size leather sectional recliner sofa? My wife just bought ours and doesn’t want to put in storage. I’d hate to bring it and not have it fit.

    Is there any self-storage available?

    We have an 8×8 yard shed… are they allowed?

    Also, appreciate any information on kids’ baseball and softball… do they have little league? (We have an 11 y/o son and 7 y/o daughter.)

    I’m still not clear on how exactly the housing process works… I am a navy civilian and will be working at Naha Military Port. Both Kinser and Kadena have been recommended, but will we likely have any choice? I’m hoping we a get a chance to at least look around a couple days before we have to decide whether on or off base and where? I’d love to get any and all housing recommendations/comments please.

    seawship
  • April 26, 2011

    Bring them! I have been trying to find a set for weeks and there none to be found.

    Jeff
  • March 16, 2011

    There is no way to know if you will get base housing or not until you get here. Availability of housing depends on a lot of things…rank, number of children, where you (or your husband) will be working, etc. If housing is at a certain capacity when you arrive, you may be told to look for a place off base. If the “freaking out” is mainly about housing, check out the living on base and off base sections of this site for pictures, descriptions, etc of homes and check out http://www.totalokinawa.com to see homes off base that are available. We were able to come here armed with a list of homes that we wanted to see by using that site. Calm down, everything will be fine. People on this site are super helpful. Ask all the questions, you’d like.

    LaLa
  • March 15, 2011

    Just found out we have orders to Okinawa for June and have NO idea what to do….literally freaking out….when do we find out if we get on base housing or not?

    I can’t even begin to ask questions because I am so overwhelmed but so far this site has helped a little.

    Alyson
  • January 18, 2011

    If you are talking about what we have always called the “Express” or “Unaccompanied Baggage” shipment, unless the rules have changed, you cannot bring your bed in that shipment. We were told no furniture in that shipment. In our Express Shipment, we shipped all of our clothes (except what was in suitcases), all of our shoes, all of our linens (towels, blankets, sheets, etc.) all of our kitchen stuff (didn’t have a microwave to ship, but I would ship it if I was you because we had to buy one weeks before our stuff arrived), a pack and play for our baby to sleep in and a baby swing to entertain her while I unpacked everything. Our allowance for the Express Shipment was 1000 pounds and we went over by 74 pounds. We were charged for going over. We also went over on our Household Goods Shipment and we were charged for that too. A couple of things in both shipments got broken, but they were minor things, nothing I was heartbroken over. We filed a claim and the claim was paid quickly. We did take pictures of the beat up boxes before opening them and pictures of the broken items to provide with the claim. Other people might suggest that you bring completely different things, but what we brought worked well for us. Good luck to you!

    LaLa
  • January 18, 2011

    hi all..we will be arriving on island in april and was wondering what exactly do we need to pack for our advanced tmo? i have sheets and blankets and bed so far but i dont wanna pack unnecessarily if i wont need it! will i need my microwave?!!

    tricia
  • January 4, 2011

    Bring your sweaters and winter stuff. They don’t turn on the heat here in order to save money, and right now, as I sit in my tower apartment on Courtney, it is only 60 degrees in here according to a nice digital thermometer. You will want your sweaters and your comfortable jackets to wear all day inside your home as well as those nice ones you want to wear out. Bring blankets, and also space heaters if you have them. They ran out here in early December when they first got them and after the first shipment is gone you are out of luck!

    Amanda
  • December 7, 2010

    To all with questions of weather to bring your mattresses or not, here is my two cents. We decided to bring our own for several reasons but the first being I couldn’t imagine myself “borrowing” a mattress, although I know several people who have and are happy with their decision to do so, and the second being, we would come here buy a mattress then have to re-sell it(for half or more than half of what you pay for it) because we wouldn’t have need for it when we returned to the states. If you want a good mattress it is going to cost you what you would pay in the states for one. So, if you love your mattress, bring it.

    Mrs A
  • December 7, 2010

    Ligia~
    We moved here with our King size tempurpedic and have not had any problems at all. We have been here 2 years. I was so happy we brought our bed!!!

    Mrs A
  • December 6, 2010

    @Erica — you’ll find lots of info on a post about bringing the kitchen sink — it’s here: http://www.okinawahai.com/2007/09/should-you-brin.html
    But just wanted to say hi because we moved to Oki from England as well (JMF St Mawgan) and it was a HUGE HUGE change… leaving the drizzle for the humidity — but LOVELY. You guys will love it, but will probably find yourself missing things about the UK. Life is full of that, I guess!!

    Joelle
  • December 5, 2010

    My husband and I, along with our two small kids will be moving to Kadena in October of 2011. We are moving from England so I was wondering if anyone else had done an overseas to overseas move and their thoughts on the bringing their furniture. We don’t have a lot, but I would like to bring what we have if we can.

    Erica
  • October 8, 2010

    I love this site, very informative!
    We are moving to Okinawa in February of 2011. I too have some questions on what we should bring. One of my biggest concerne is my king size bed and mattress. I have a tempurpedic matress, I’m worried the humiduty and heat will damage it. should I leave it here and buy one there or buy a different matress here or does it mater?
    Looking forward to hear your opnions 🙂

    Ligia
  • September 18, 2010

    Thank you so much for the input. I kind of figured that’s what it was, but I wanted to make sure. We’re checking into a hotel two days before the movers get there with all of our accompanied baggage and pets. Our UB is in one room and the rest is post-it noted (Green for go, with HHG and a description written on it; Red with DO NOT PACK and a big X for things that don’t go like the appliances; anything that is movable that is not going is getting padlocked in the shed).

    Our shipping company seems great so far – they’ve been very attentive with checking in with us, and seem very professional.

    Leah (@Jen)
  • September 16, 2010

    Biggest question that I have for now, is my bed. It is a king size bed, trying to decide if we should bring it or just get a new queen sized bed there???? I don’t want my bed to take up the entire bedroom. We will be living on-base. What are the bedrooms like? Also, dressers. Should we bring them or leave them? What is the loaner furniture like? Thank you so much! Would love to find someone to answer all my questions!

    Stacy
  • September 15, 2010

    Hey Leah – to some extent this will depend on your moving crew. From my experience they packed up all of my paints/art supplies, all of my nail polish, all of my spices and baking goods (had to throw some of it away once I got here and unpacked though), all of my unopened jams and preserves, and even some of my trash. I was a little perplexed about that one. I’d, of course, leave any opened jams at home. Just be sure the glass jars are well wrapped – you definitely don’t want a bottle of vinegar breaking during transit! They didn’t, however, pack any of my scented oils for the sole reason that it said “oil” on the label. I tried to explain that the prohibition was for motor oil or other related products, but they wouldn’t budge. It was no big deal b/c they are in such tiny little jars, but you’ll find that there are some things they will pack and some they won’t. Sometimes it will make sense, sometimes it won’t. And anything you don’t want them to pack (such as car keys, passports, important papers, etc) get them all together the night before and put them in your car or somewhere inacessable the following morning before the movers get there. If it isn’t bolted down (or very clearly labelled), they’ll pack it! My keys and my babysitter’s keys almost got sent to Japan! We had to open some boxes to find them.

    Jen
  • September 14, 2010

    I love this site. Thank all of you for the wonderful answers and the wonderful questions!

    So, this is my first PCS move, and it’s a big one! I have read the questions and answers and have searched this and other forums, but I want to see if I can get this absolutely right, as they are coming to get our HHG in one week.

    I know I can get just about everything I need or want there, but there are few things that I am really hating the idea of leaving behind.
    Can I have them pack (or should I mail or leave behind):

    Unopened jars of home-canned jam? Commercial jam?

    Jars of home-infused vinegar, unopened?

    Spices that are previously opened in store jars? Spices that are in my own glass containers?

    Art supplies: ink, paint (oil and acrylic, small tubes)?

    Nail polish? (OK, that just sounds dumb of me to ask, now that I see it in print, but if I put it in a snapware container, should it be OK to go?)

    I apologize if these specific items have already been addressed. I think my brain reached its maximum capacity with this move about six hours ago.

    Leah
  • August 13, 2010

    We just moved here in July and we packed almost everything. I’m not sure how much weight we were allowed but my Husband said it was based on rank. That could be the reason some people got to bring so much. I also heard that people say most people don’t get charged when they go over weight unless they want to be reimbursed for something that broke in shipping. But I’m not sure I completely believe that. Safest bet is to just not go over in weight really. We have loaner furniture right now and I can’t wait until our furniture gets here. The loaner stuff isn’t terrible but it’s not great either. I also would be worried about spilling and staining the furniture since they seem to be very strict about the shape it’sin when you return it. It isn’t really comfortable (the beds suck really bad) and I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want theirs here, you are going to be here for a few years after all! Sure you can buy some here but it’s not cheap from what I have seen. I am currently looking for an asian looking coffee table and have not found one for a reasonable price so far. I would bring your microwave though, we didn’t and then had to buy one when we got our house.

    Krystal
  • August 10, 2010

    about cordless phones and baby monitors-the illegal ones are those that run on 900mHz only. The others are fine.

    Nicole
  • August 10, 2010

    Do not bother to bring cordless phones or baby monitors. I remember seeing a post on here several months ago when I was packing to come that suggested bringing a good wireless home phone set because they are near to impossible to find here. The reason for this is because they are ILLIGAL! These devices work on the same frequency as the Okinawan police and emergency radio system. If your wireless phone or baby monitor interferes with their system they can locate it and the fine is very substantial. More importantly however, you may interfere with a person’s ability to get police or medical assistance in a crisis. I have seen a few phones and monitors in town at the local stores, so if you want to have these items, leave yours at home and enjoy the shopping trip in town to look for them!

    Amanda
  • July 3, 2010

    @ Dallas,

    If you have those medications readily available already, by all means, bring them. In fact, I recommend you bring some with you in your luggage.

    You can get Tylenol, etc from the pharmacy here, however, that requires an appointment first.

    For Children’s Tylenol/Motrin-yes, bring it. The last time I looked at the Kadena commissary, the shelves were STILL empty (due to all of the recalls), so the only option was to get it from the doctor.

    Other than the medicines affected by the recent recalls, most everything else is easily accessible at the commissary/BX.

    N
  • July 2, 2010

    you could pack those items, but you could also just hop over to the PX or shoppette once you get here to replace them. I think they emptied out my entire medicine cabinet and packed it up, liquids, pills, everything. Let this be just about the last thing you stress over.

    Jen
  • July 1, 2010

    How about medicines like infant tylenol, and benadryl(I get migraines and benadryl helps for some odd reason),dayquil, and such? I mean as long as its not liquid shouldn’t it be ok?

    Dallas
  • June 16, 2010

    Hey Dallas,

    I brought alot of cans good with me thinking that everything over in Okinawa would be different. They will just about pack everything and then some. Some items that I did not want the to pack (i put into a different area)still got pack, like opened flour or sugar form my kitchen. Candles and liquid are suppose to be a no but we had great movers and I was able to put the items into little bins with tops and them packed it. It may have helped that we provided lunch to.

    tara
  • June 14, 2010

    Hey everyone!
    So I’ve been reading everything on this website (which is like chocolate wrapped in caffeine wrapped in a kid free day if you know what I mean). I absolutely love okinawahai, it is so informative. There is one thing that I have not seen though, when moving from the US to Okinawa can you have the movers pack can goods? What can the movers pack and can’t they pack? I mean liquids, perishables, and candles obviously, but what can we bring?

    Dallas
  • May 14, 2010

    This site has been a godsend. We will PCS to Kadena September 2010.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    Monica
  • April 24, 2010

    @Kelly,

    Not sure what Navy rules are for single officer housing. Technically, all incoming people are required to live on-base, but I honestly don’t know how that applies to single officers.

    As an O-2 off base, you can probably find a small house with a small yard- and you will DEFINITELY have a/c.

    Military people are not allowed to live in houses off-base without a/c. (Well, technically, you are, but you would not be allowed to have your housing allowance).

    I encourage you to check into the housing situation you will be in well before you come to Okinawa-not all military housing is pet friendly-and if you are required to live on base, you may find yourself in a nasty predicament.

    N
  • April 24, 2010

    Looking at past posts, I thought this topic could use an update. For our family we have two small children and one dog. We are military and were limited to I think 3500 lbs. For us, bringing everything was not an option.

    Here is what we are glad we brought:

    Clothes, clothes, and all my shoes 😉
    Toys (and outdoor toys)
    Kitchen stuff: coffee pot, electric skillet, waffle maker, etc.
    Our bedroom furniture
    Children’s bedroom decor
    A few extra new toys, etc. (we came right before Easter so we were prepared)

    Wishing we would have brought:

    Both of the kids’ room decor (For 3rd bedroom)
    More house decor (frames, mirrors)
    Shelves
    Our folding skillet thing for pancakes
    A microwave
    Our blender
    Throw rugs

    What we brought and regret:

    Washer and Dryer (someone didn’t pay attention in TMO class)
    My KitchenAid mixer
    Bathroom decor
    Big baking pans and cookie sheets

    For us, we had minimal time getting ready to move. We thought we would get a 2 bedroom on base because if the base order, but ended up getting a 3 bedroom off base. Therefor, some of the items we don’t need or do need reflect the changes of living because we are now in a Japanese style home: bathroom decor, microwave, kitchen appliances…

    Our main tv broke during the move, so we wish we would have just brought our older one for a backup.

    I hope this helps for people who are getting ready to move.

    Oh, and we left our couch. We also were very happy with the government bunk beds and most of the furniture.

    Angie
  • April 12, 2010

    Hello.

    I just finished a graduate program with the Navy and will be taking my first duty at the Naval Hospital in Okinawa. Several questions: I am single, with a dog, and no dependents. I am a little worried about housing. On an 02 salary, will I be able to afford something with a yard? Am I likely to find off base housing with an air conditioner and a yard?

    Kelly Myles
  • March 31, 2010

    Chelsey – My advice to you – is buy a Kindle. You will save TONS of room on actual books and to be honest the bookstore here leaves a LOT to be desired. I find it so much cheaper and easier to buy books for my Kindle and I always have them with me – without having to order and wait and pay for shipping. My husband bought me mine for Christmas and I have actually gotten all of my HAVE TO HAVE books on the Kindle now – and am planning on giving all my books away before we PCS from here.

    Jackie
  • March 31, 2010

    Stephanie – Eglin AFB in FL was where we PCSed from. The humidity over here is MUCH worse than what we experienced on the panhandle. Temps seem about the same but we don’t have a consistant winter like Fl does. It’ll be cold here for a couple days and then warm up to shorts weather. A few days after that, it’ll be cold again. It feels like it rains more over here, but I’ve been here for almost 3 yrs now. Fl is fading in my mind.

    I think the worst things about the base vary depending on where you live and where you have to work. We live on McT and there isn’t much in the central part of the island. To get to almost anything I want, I have to go to Kadena or Foster. There are very few kids programs here on Courtney so we’re up super early for things on the other bases. That’s my biggest pet peeve right now.

    Michelle
  • March 31, 2010

    Kadena will be my second base, I’m currently in the southwest of the states. I used to live in Florida. What is Okinawa like in relation to FL? Is it rainy & tropical or something? I love places like that.
    What are the worst things about the base that you’ve noticed? Just so I have an idea. I’ve read there is lots of traffic (which makes sense).
    I’m also concerned about finding a church. I’m a Christian, raised primarily as a baptist.
    Thanks!

    Stephanie
  • March 14, 2010

    Chelsey..I only brought the DVDs that we really watch routinely. And, for books, I only brought favorites that I re-read. I use the library A LOT and I have a Kindle. I’m happy with this decision because I just don’t have the shelf space to store all of my books and DVDs. I would recommend leaving what you can. Another option is ripping your DVDs to iTunes using handbrake.com and then syncing it to an AppleTv…I don’t think I could survive here without AppleTv

    LLC
  • March 12, 2010

    Should I bring all of our books and DVDs? We have quite a few, but I love to read so I can’t decide whether I can stand leaving them in storage for 3 years!

    Chelsey
  • December 29, 2009

    Hello all:)

    I like everyone else agrees that this is a really awesome site; I even sent to my friend that is come out there at the same time.. We are a MC family heading that way in April/May time frame, my hubby is leaving before of us because of school. There is myself, hubby(E-6)working on Schwab, son (9), and baby girl(5). I have been searching every point of this site for 3days and is really to take-off(somewhat). So to start my questions…

    *What is the normal timeframe that a family gets a sponsor and whom is in charge of doing so?

    *Do we get to decorate for the holiday(s) ect.. Easter and Christmas?

    *Do families normally fly out with the active duty member?

    *Do you guys have cell phone or just house phones? And if there are cell phone what company?

    *Have anyone been to Disney yet?

    I am pretty sure I will have more question, but for the most part they have been answered by me just reading here:) Really sad about not being able to bring my washer/dryer because they were brought a month before we got orders(June).

    Tara J.
  • December 28, 2009

    Thanks, Joelle. I am a civilian employee, not specifically under one of the services. I have not seen anything lifted for anyone other than the Air Force. Is it posted somewhere for the other agencies? I have heard conflicting information on this site. From one post, they said that if you are over, that you will be charged at your point of origin before departure. On another post, they said that everyone will be charged upon their return to their HOR. Either way, it was never stated by anyone that you would be charged while on Okinawa. Is there any truth to either allegation from anyone who has PCS’d back state side and had previously came to Okinawa over weight?

    Steve Bucher
  • December 27, 2009

    Steve, many of the branches have lifted their weight restrictions over the last couple of years. I don’t know which branch you are moving with — maybe you got the one that hasn’t! 🙁 When we moved here with the Navy it was just 25%, but there are no longer restrictions. Other people brought everything and found they were not charged for their overweight — but that’s a gamble.

  • December 27, 2009

    Just a quick question for those who said they brought everything. How is this possible if you are only allowed 25% of your JTR which for most people that would equal somewhere around 3500 lbs. This is not much weight and a bunch of little things will quickly add up to this weight. I have seen the big moving trucks show up with what would have to be well in excess of this amount. Is everyone paying for the difference or are you PCSing in from another OCONUS location which did not have the weight restriction?

    Steve Bucher
  • April 7, 2009

    Hey all
    My husband is selected to go over to Okinawa we are still waiting on dates and such. We plan on down sizing and selling a lot of things. But I did have a wonderful website to share with you all I know no one knows the sizes of their to be house and such and if they should bring their couch or not. But this is designed for those of us who move all over the place all the time. http://homereserve.com. These sofas have built in storage and removable fabric that you can wash in the washer. Not to mention they break down and fit inside a box. When we move there I will be ordering one of these. By the way love the website Thanks
    Mae

    Maelene Hladun
  • March 29, 2009

    RE: washers and dryers and leather furniture.

    First, washer/dryer. Do yourself a favor- do not bring them. If you are on base, you will have a set provided and they will NOT remove them from base housing-so you will end up with two.

    If you are off base, you will either have one in your house/apt provided, or you get one from base. They are free from base, it’s part of your allowed check out items (for military at least, not sure about civilians). Many, many of the houses/apts would not have room for an American washer and dryer set, so you’d be SOL on that too.

    Leather furniture-we brought our leather couch and loveseat. Have been in Oki for just over 1 1/2 years (wow!). They are fine, except for some sun fading, due to our very large glass doors and windows in our (off-base) apt. But that will/can happen anywhere. However, we did notice a few spots of possible mold on our leather jackets, so we are now keeping those in a room that ac gets run in more frequently and just keeping an eye on them.

    Good luck everyone!

    Nicole
  • March 28, 2009

    I just read the last post. We brought our leather chairs and they’ve done fine. We’ve been here for 6 months and although we haven’t been through the hottest part of the summer I think with the A/C in the house the chairs will be fine. I’m so glad we brought them because government furniture isn’t the most comfortable to sit in for long periods of time.

    Therese
  • March 28, 2009

    We will be moving out there soon and have found some great tips on this site! I have an interesting problem. I was reading several comments about not bringing leather and at first I thought, ok, no big deal…but I remembered our couches are half leather and half microsuede. What do you think I should do??

    Heidi M.
  • March 28, 2009

    Just got orders for Kadena Afb Monday. Our rnlt date is in June (yea, busy season!) I am wondering if there is new info.about the base. We have 4 kids and my husband is a FGO. does that hurt or help as far as housing goes?Also does anyone know if they offer Martial Arts over there for dependents. My son is pretty big into it ( green belt in Songham TKD) and would like to continue . If anyone has anything helpful it would be appreciated.

    Laurie
  • March 18, 2009

    Off base housing is required to either have hookups for American washers and dryers (so you can borrow, not rent, the ones from base furniture) or they will have a washer/dryer already in place, but they may be Japanese.

    I would not bring mine here, that is a lot to count against your weight allowance. Sell them if they are older, buy new while you are here, and ship them back to the US, as your weight allowance leaving is higher than coming over (if you are Marine, AF doesn’t matter).

    Paul
  • March 18, 2009

    I wouldn’t bring a washer or dryer. If you live on base, you’ll have an American washer and dryer. Most off base housing has the Japanese style, which is a lot smaller. I’m not sure, but I think you can rent the American appliances if you don’t want to use Japanese, and you might be able to negotiate the appliances into your rent. But, if you’re on base, you’ll definitely have a washer and dryer.

    ash
  • March 18, 2009

    should I bring my washer and dryer I heard that they let you rent these things?

    Evelyn
  • January 18, 2009

    I can give you my two cents on this as my husband and I were in the market for king size mattress set recently. They definitely have a limited selection of mattresses at the Foster Furniture store. We ordered a King set Vera Wang ($1300,, cheaper if you only get the mattress) and had to wait about 3 weeks cause they were out of King size. The selection is much smaller than if you went to a mattress store in the states, there is really no good salesperson to talk about pro’s and con’s about each mattress, but on the other hand, maybe that’s a good thing. The prices are okay, but if you’ve ever shopped for mattress sets in the US, you can ALWAYS bargain down, at a minimum you can get a 10-15% military discount (if you ask), also there are big sales. To be honest, I am very picky when it comes to mattresses and found the selection poor, but if you aren’t extremely choosy, you should be okay. Finally, most mattress stores (in the states) have some type of interval for return policy, i.e. can return within 30 days, full refund, or within 90 days, minus 20% for restocking, something like that. If you buy in the states right before PCS’ing, then you won’t get the chance to try it out and exercise that option if necessary. Caveat, we came without a microwave fully intending to buy one upon arrival, and there were none at any exchange for about 2.5 months. Lesson learned: balancing the island mentality of hoarding/bringing too much against your individual weight limit. Hope this flight of ideas helps, Shaunlee.

    Theresa
  • January 18, 2009

    Howdy yall!

    I’m fixin to PCS to Okinawa to meet my husband who has already been stationed at Camp Foster for over a year. I have a living room set and queen sized bed that I’m gonna have shipped over there. But I do not have mattresses for the bed anymore. Should i buy new ones here or are there affordable options over there? We are both E-3s, so we’d like to find the best deal we can. Thanks for any helpful advice yall have. 🙂

    Shaunlee
  • December 18, 2008

    If you are PCSing to Camp Kinser and you are considering leaving your King size bed…BRING IT!!! You will not be sorry.

    tina
  • December 16, 2008

    My husband and I moved here in August, and it’s like the island mentality, i.e. shortages of random items at random times, predisposing to hoarding. If anyone has lived in GTMO, then you know what I’m talking about. Bring your comfortable living room furniture, recliners, your king size bed. The housing in town for Y-plates are for the most part very spacious, despite the rumors, size is not a problem. I cannot speak for on-base housing. I would let comfort be your guide, cause the loaner furniture is okay, but certainly not like your favorite overstuffed leather sofa. In our case, we didn’t have a dining room set, so we are using the base loaner set, it’s fine and functional. But we brought my living room set and our king sized bed, queen bed for the guest room, futon for another room, 2 recliners. We didn’t bring a microwave cause we figured we buy one here. They (all base stores) were out of them for almost 2 months, so bring one. The weight issue can be a problem, but we are both active duty so had twice the weight. Didn’t come close. Do not bring: refrigerator or washer/dryer (free loaners from base) Hope this helps.

    Theresa
  • December 15, 2008

    Hi Everyone,
    After reading this blog I’m still left with some questions. My husband is already in Oki on Camp Schwab and I have nno idea how much longer it will take him to get the paperwork for me to come over there done. Granted that there is the availability issue, I was just wondering if anyone knew which base was closest or most likely for us to get base housing at with him working at Schwab.
    Since this is my first time dealing with anything military, I was also wondering if the on-base housing was carpeted or wood/linolium usually.
    I was also wondering if anyone had a list of things you aren’t allowed to pack (adding to the previously mentioned lightbulbs, booze, liquid toiletries and cleaning fluids).
    And finally my husband is MC E-5, what’s the typical on-base ammount of rooms for us. We have no kids.
    I def love this site. Although I only know a little, I’ve surprised my husband with information he didn’t think I’d know lol.

    Rebecca Ramaglia
  • December 15, 2008

    I was wondering for the new weight limits what would everyone say to bring?

    Celia Plunk
  • November 27, 2008

    Thank you so much Ms D!

    We will be there mid Feb.

    I am so excited, but scared at the same time. I know it sounds kind of silly, but leaving our grown family behind is sooo hard!

    Well if you see a short brunette crying like crazy! THAT WILL BE ME!!!…

    Thank you for everything!

    Heidi
  • November 20, 2008

    Heidi,

    I live on Camp Courtney and right now there is plenty of housing. You should not have a problem in February. There is only two types of housing (Towers or Multiplexes/Duplexes). The housing office will give you at least two choices but those choices depend on availablity. When I came, I only had a choice of towers only and no wait which was in July (peak PCS season). As for the jobs, there are more jobs available on Camp Foster and Kadena than Courtney. You will find lots to do so no worries!

    Ms D.
  • November 20, 2008

    Hey ladies…

    I want you all to know that this site is a MUST for newbies to Okinawa, and I’m so glad to have gotten it from a girl in my group on myspace!!

    Anyway, My husband just recieved orders to MWSS 172, which is on Camp Foster I believe. We have a 11 year old and a 2 year old (by the time we get there in May)… I’m pretty much bringing all my furniture and most of my belongings, just because I don’t think we have ALOT of weight, but I don’t care…I’ll totally pay out of pocket for stuff that I just refuse to live without. Most of our stuff is brand new and is currently sitting in storage as my husband is in Iraq and I”m with family!!! So..I’ll have been goign without all mystuff for already 9 months prior to moving!!! I feel bad for the movers that have to come to our storage unit and repack everything. ugh!

    Anyway…I’m looking at getting a fairly decent sized AMERICAN type home with a yard if possible. Does anyone have reccomendations? My husband is an E5 and will be E6 in Sept…so I might have to pay out of pocket for a bit with the difference of BAH! I haven’t been too impressed with base housing so far, although I’d love to live on base just to be around other american marine/military wives.

    I am curious about the schools? Are they good? I”ll have a 6th grader and I want her to be in a good school, but not sure if I want to spend 500$ to put her ini a private school!?

    Jessica
  • November 4, 2008

    Me and my husband just received orders to Japan,Camp Courtney SOTG. I am really nervous about the move, seeing we are leaving behind 3 grown children..and 4 grandbabies. It just kills me!!…We should be in Japan by Feb.

    I have a couple questions to ask…

    1. What housing do we rate? (He is an E-7)…Do you think it’s a long wait at that time?

    One more question!

    2. How are the jobs out there? I decided to keep myself busy while I am away from family!…I plan on working, playing BINGO, playing slots!!! Oh dear I’m a mess!…Thanks for listening!

    Heidi
  • November 3, 2008

    Hi Colleen,
    There are Japanese conversational classes offered on base. Some preschools off base are taught in Japanese too. As for buying a car, many of the dealerships will offer financing, especially if the car is newer, ie, more expensive. Even the older cars are maintained well, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one. I used payless motors and they offer a six month warranty, even on the used cars. You can find some great threads in our To-Live category under cars. I hope that helps.

    kandy
  • November 3, 2008

    Hey everyone, I have a few more questions. Are there Japanese language and culture classes offered on base? I am pretty confident that I will come across as a complete idiot without them. Are there Japanese classes for preschoolers, too?

    Also, what is the deal with buying a car in Okinawa? Are there places to get reasonably new cars (something from this decade) or are most of them from the 1990’s? Do you have to pay cash when you buy a car, or can you use credit cards…do they even offer car loans over there?

    Colleen
  • October 28, 2008

    thanks again, kat! i believe we will enjoy okinawa very much. hope to meet you then. we are planning on going in february to see the area. the only mayor concern….our cars!!

    wai-lee kwan
  • October 26, 2008

    As far as the soap operas. There is only a few shown here. Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives and General Hospital. For me an All my Children fan I am out of luck.

    nicolec
  • October 25, 2008

    No, the utilities payout is separate and in addition to COLA. 🙂 It definitely helps, especially with those air conditioning bills! We live in Uruma, about 20 minutes from Kadena where my husband works, about 35 minutes from Foster where I JUST got transferred (a lot closer than when I used to work at Kinser though, so yay!), and about 5-10 minutes from Camp Courtney. We chose to live out here because we loved the area, the fact that there is tons to do out here but still not as crowded as Chatan or the Sunabe area, but not as isolated as Yomitan.

    We have a single family house, with a yard, and we went through Kanae Homes. We’ve been happy with their service so far–they replaced our washing machine the same day we called it in as broken, and they’ve been really helpful when I call them to ask questions about our city trash and recycling requirements and stuff. I know the other agencies have plenty of happy customers though…I think all of them are pretty good! The only one I’ve ever heard anything remotely negative about was American Family Housing.

    Kat
  • October 25, 2008

    pat, is that stipend cola? or do you receive cola in addition to the 500 for utilities? how far from the base do you live? is there any realtor you recomend to help in the search for a house off base?

    thanks for the info,

    wai

    wai-lee kwan
  • October 23, 2008

    Hi Wai–

    Our rent is covered by the housing allowance, and we get a stipend of like $500-600 a month for utilities. Other than gas money, internet, phones, we don’t have any out of pocket expenses for living off-base. As long as we remember not to leave the A/C on ALL day, our utilities are covered by the stipend.

    If you’re interested on saving gas money, or like keeping you house very cold, I’d recommend living on-base. However, if you WANT to live off-base (and it’s definitely worth it, in my opinion), it’s really not expensive.

    Kat
  • October 23, 2008

    Hello, All!

    So, our electronics and homegoods (dishes, linens, etc.) will be coming with us to Oki in Dec. As for big furniture, I will bring our queen mattress set, but I DESPERATELY want to bring my children’s room furniture. (See link:)

    http://trus.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pTRU1-4472534_alternate3_dt.jpg

    I want my kids to have their own “domain” no matter where the military takes us. Other than that, I’m fine with gov furniture. Does this seem feasible to those of you who’ve already done your move? We rate the 25% of the 11,000 lbs and this stuff is pretty light. Any advice is much appreciated!

    V/R,

    Janelle

    Janelle
  • October 21, 2008

    thank you tara and pat!

    i really appreaciate the info given. yes, my husband is in AWACS. two months deployments are better that a year. i can’t complain then.

    our girls are 17 and 12. i guess it won’t hurt to look on base before going off base, right? is it expensive to live off base?

    we were looking at the map of the base, and we are a bit confused about the number of schools. what is going to determine which school are the girls going to attend?

    thanks again,

    wai

    p.s. if you ladies need anything from germany, let us know.

    wai-lee kwan
  • October 20, 2008

    Wai–

    Better jobs are almost always available through MCCS Okinawa, if you don’t mind driving to one of the Marine Corps bases to work. I was not happy with the jobs offered through Kadena Services (we’re AF too). Appropriated funds/GS positions are as hard to get here as they are in the States, unless you are already IN the system or have advanced degrees. MCCS has plentiful positions for admin assistants, library techs, training, event planning, etc. I highly recommend looking there if you’re interested in working. I drive from our house in Uruma to my job a Kinser every weekday, but it’s worth it to not be doing something that I completely hate.

    This is the MCCS website:

    http://www.mccsokinawa.com

    There is a link for ’employment’ on the left side. Hope this helps!

    Kat
  • October 20, 2008

    My husband is an E5 in the AF and we have two girls (ages 2 and 4) and we were given a 3 bedroom two story “townhouse”. We were on a weight restriction when we moved here but we did bring our king size mattress, however we left our bedroom furniture in storage and I’m glad we did. Our room is an ok size but our mattress alone takes up a majority of the room.
    Tasha-yes you will be able to watch your soap operas. I’m pretty sure they air almost all of them on AFN at different times during the day, you’ll just be a week behind but hey..better than nothing!! Also, we were in billeting for about three weeks before we were able to move into our house, but everyone else we know was moved in within a week of arriving, so you never know!! Good luck on your PCS!!!

    Kristin
  • October 20, 2008

    Hello to All, I am PCS’ing to Okinawa in December. I am quite excited to say the least. There are a couple questions that I have though. My husband is an E-4 in the MC so we will definately plan to live on base. I have already prepared myself to be living in the towers. Are they really as bad as some of the wives are making them out to be? Right now we live in brand new base housing on Camp Lejeune so we have the perfect sized house for us and our 15-month old daughter. I am a military brat and both my parents have been to Oki but that was decades ago and i am sure things have changed soo much for the better. I just have some questions they can’t answer.

    Here’s some of my random question:

    1) How long does it ususally take to get into base housing?

    2) Is there telephone,internet and cable services ON BASE?

    3) Do you get the American Soaps Operas there? (Please tell me u do !!!! I might not survive without them!)

    4)Do the clean the base furniture at the lending service before the lend it out again? Just Curious

    Well, I have one month before the big move. And NOTHING is packed yet so wish us all the luck in the world. Thanx

    Tasha
  • October 20, 2008

    Wai-

    I’m sure others will correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ll jump in and try to answer a few of your questions.

    As an E-6, with 2 kids of the same gender, you’ll only be allotted a 2-bedroom. Unless they’re *quite* different in age (or DH is about to sew on Master- I think E-7’s qualify for a 3rd bedroom regardless of kids). If someone here can’t give you exact facts on the age thing, you should be able to ask your current base… it’s the same for the AF everywhere. We’re in one of the new 2BR’s on Kadena and it’s nice (some of the old ones can be uber icky). There are two main floor layouts for the 2BR’s, but you’ll have to see what would be offered to you to see if it’d work for your household. But with two kids, and a hope for a third, I’d suggest looking off-base. There are a lot of decent-sized places with more than 2 bedrooms (accompanied E-6 allowance is ¥200,000 BTW, if you do any searching online for housing ideas).

    Houses don’t have basements here, but some are multi-level… and I don’t just mean the building you’re in, I mean your personal living space could be multi-level (more likely off base though).

    Re: the electricity – If you want to use any of your European appliances, you’ll need a converter. Okinawan electricity is 100v/60h. Their plugs are like the ungrounded, unpolarized, two-prong US plugs. Converters are needed for some American appliances off-base, but it depends on the house – some are completely built to American electric standards.

    Jobs are easy enough to get if you’re not picky. There are always open job listings at HRO, though they’re not always the most glamorous. It seems a lot of spouses work at the bank… I see new faces every time I walk in there (and it also seems to be the only place I never see Japanese employees, unless they’re spouses fluent in English).

    And I’ll see if my husband can find out how long the deployments are for the AWACS guys (or am I getting your DH’s plane wrong?). His shop does 2-month deployments to the desert, but he’s on a different plane (RC-135).

    Tara M
  • October 18, 2008

    hello,

    we have just found out we are moving to okinawa. my husband is an AF E-6. we currently live in Germany, and we love it here. needless to say, we are a bit anxious about the moving. can we bring our car or not? i’m a bit confused about it? also, is the electricity off base 220?

    we have two girls, looking for a third child; what size would our house be if we choose to live on base? how soon can we get on the housing listing? do houses have basements?

    how easy/difficult is it to find a job on base?

    also, if any of the bloggers is a flyer’s spouse, please tell me how long the deployments are? weeks, months? my husband is an E3 flight engineer, and the longest “deployment” right now is two weeks long (we are at a NATO AB) i could say the mission lenght is almost as the c-5.

    thanks for the help you could provide.

    wai

    WAI-LEE KWAN
  • October 9, 2008

    Colleen, bring your sectional,, you can always split the peices up if you have to, the government furniture gets old after about the first month, so you will be sooo ready for your furniture and others goodies from home… My neighbor has a sectional, on top of all the gov furniture she is borrowing, although she is a little cramped, she never runs out of seating.. Make sure your husband brings tools, we didn’t and boy do we regret it!!!!!!

    crystal
  • October 9, 2008

    I along with many other new islanders lost a leather jacket due to mold issues, although you can probably wash the mold off, you WILL NEVER be able to get rid of the musty smell. If you are going to bring your leather goods, I would think moth balls and storage containers instead of hanging openly in a closet might work better.. hope everyone has a safe and happy halloween !!!!!

    crystal
  • October 9, 2008

    Hi Colleen, About baby clothes/items. The main place to shop is the BX/PX so they have the usual selection but if you want something other than that you can venture off base to Jusco or the ‘white rabbit store’ where they have affordable japanese style clothes. I think they are adorable. 🙂

    Nicole
  • October 8, 2008

    We are moving to Okinawa in around five weeks. We haven’t received our travel orders yet, so we are going to have to rush through this whole process when it happens. We have never done this before. My husband works for the DoDEA offices (on Kadena, I think),so I have no clue what type of housing we will be offered. I have a gigantic three piece sectional couch that can seat about seven people. Should I pack this monster or store it? It barely fits in our stateside living room, but it is very comfy. I am also set to give birth to my second when I get there. I am terrified about it after reading some of the posts on this site about the topic, so I am trying to keep my mind off it by asking questions about the simpler things. Should I stock up on baby clothes here or do they have a decent selection over there?

    Colleen
  • September 12, 2008

    Can I find queen mattresses for a resonable price in Oki?

    Leslie
  • September 1, 2008

    Leslie, washers and dryers are issued to you whether you live on or off base. If you have a weight restriction, you will also be allowed to use government furniture while on the island. I hope this helps. Check out this post:
    http://www.okinawahai.com/2008/07/government-furn.html
    Good luck!

    Kandy
  • September 1, 2008

    We were wondering if the on base housing has washer and dryer already. We just found out that we can only take 25% of our weight and our trying to get rid of the stuff that is not necessary.
    Thank you so much!

    Leslie
  • August 21, 2008

    This site is great! I was just wondering about the government furniture. I have never heard of this… Is the furniture free for your entire stay or just until you get set up with your own things? Is the furnitire available for all branches (we are MC)? We are unsure about moving some pieces of furniture like dressers and our glass coffee and endtable set so if we can get them from the gov. they will prabibly be left in storage.

    Melissa
  • August 15, 2008

    Hello Everyone! My husband will be arriving next week but I cant come until he gets base housing. Does anyone know what the waiting list looks like for Kadena or how long it will take till he gets a house?? I am so excited to move 😀 Any info would be great!

    Sabrina
  • August 13, 2008

    Hi LindseyP,
    The military packs everything for you. However, you are responsible for sorting through the things that need to stay in the states, the smaller shipment that arrives fast, and the larger shipment. A good thread about that can be found here: http://www.okinawahai.com/2008/06/me-my-big-pcs-x.html

    Kandy
  • August 13, 2008

    Lindsey-
    You can pack some of your own things, if you’d prefer (I did this with my collectibles), but the movers may make you sign a waiver releasing them of any responsibility should those items be damaged in transit. Otherwise, they’ll pack it all for you. It sounds like most people are offered housing within a week, though I’m sure there are some exceptions depending on which base you’ll be on and how many bedrooms you’re allotted. As for the bike… it’s possible in some areas, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it. I suppose it depends how much you’re used to riding and if you’re comfortable in the street. See the article here for off-base info: http://www.okinawa.usmc.mil/Public Affairs Info/Archive News Pages/2008/080718-law.html (sorry, can’t get it to be clickable, as it requires the spaces to work, so just copy and paste into a new tab/window). I’m not up-to-date on on-base rules for bike riding, so I can’t say anything about that.

    Tara M
  • August 13, 2008

    Hey, I am brand new to this site and I just kind of breezed through it. I am brand new to pcs-ing. I have heard that you have to pack up your own stuff and then I have also heard the military hires people to do that for you, silly question but I didn’t know which was correct. Also, Is it a huge waiting list for gov’t housing? Is it possible to get around with a bike? (hubby is deployed so I am getting everything together on my own… sorry for all the questions!)

    Lindseyp
  • July 30, 2008

    Thank you Suzy…what is DIY?
    The reason why I say laundry mat is because to dry clean a comforter costs over $50.00, so I might as well buy a new one.

    Tina Moody
  • July 25, 2008

    Hey Tina. The bases all have dry cleaners and I’m pretty sure they have DIY laundry services too so don’t worry about your comforter. It’ll be fine:)

    Suzy
  • July 24, 2008

    I noticed that many people will be bringing their beds along…Are there any laundry mats that have washer and dryers big enough to wash a king size comforter?

    Tina Mood
  • July 24, 2008

    I noticed that many people will be bringing their beds along…Are there any laundry mats that have washer and dryers big enough to wash a king size comforter?

    Tina Mood
  • July 21, 2008

    There are some government furniture pictures on this link with one being a bookshelf. It looks like a dark wood.
    If you are Air Force, you’ll only be allowed to use the loaner furniture until your big shipment arrives. If you have the weight restriction, the warehouse will let you use the bookshelves as long as you need it. I hope that helps.

    http://www.okinawahai.com/2008/07/government-furn.html

    Kandy
  • July 21, 2008

    For those of us who aren’t bringing our full weight allotment, does Kadena have book shelves for loan? Are they the dark wood shelves like at Yokota AB?

    Colleen
  • July 7, 2008

    Thanks a lot Kandy!!! That helped out a lot. I’m really glad to know that the washer and dryer comes with it!

    Markeita
  • July 7, 2008

    Hi Markeita,
    Today’s post is filled with links that may answer most of your questions. For sure, you will be issued a washer and dryer. With the weight limit lifted for newcomers to Kadena, you can bring all of your furniture.
    You will be getting loaner furniture for up to 90 days or when your big shipment arrives. So, regarding what to pack for what shipment…here’s a post with comments that will definitely get you started. http://www.okinawahai.com/2008/06/me-my-big-pcs-x.html

    I hope that helps!

    Kandy
  • July 7, 2008

    Hello. I’ve been reading everyone’s suggestions. I originally posted this in the wrong thing…silly me!!! LOL…We will be PCS’ing to Kadena at the beginning of August. I’m sooo excited, but I have a lot of questions. From reading what everyone else had said it is good to take most of the furniture that you already have. I will be bringing our queen size bed, couch/loveseat, round dining table, tv, all of our game consoles, computer(I can’t live without) and a few storage shelves…and of course our fans and humidifier!! Oh…and kitchen appliances/dishes. That’s pretty much all of the main things that we use. What do you normally put in what shipment?? We have movers coming two different times to pick things up. I really want to know if base housing provides a washer/dryer??
    About how long does it usually take to get a house on base once you get there?? Thank you guys sooo sooo much for all the great advice that’s on this site. I don’t know what I would do if it wasn’t here.
    Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    Markeita
  • July 4, 2008

    PCSing very soon, called the housing office in Oki and the A.F. furniture loaner people, weight restrictions are still on for Navy people as of last night east coast time.

    Terri
  • July 3, 2008

    I hope this is the right place to post this question. From what I’ve read people can’t fly their dogs (we have 2 labs) in and out of Okinawa from June to September – is this correct? What do most people do with them in the meantime – we’d be PCSing in July. Thanks for the input – I figure this had to do with moving and what to bring. Anyone know the Navy weight limit or where I can find it?

    Thank you.

    Sue
  • June 21, 2008

    We went back into housing this last week to sign our paper work for housing and heard that the Marine Corps is in the process of lifting the weight restrictions. So for those of you who are coming in the near future you may be getting this new weight change! Lucky ducks..but just remember when you come back stateside you will have to make room for the new stuff you bought while on island and from what I have seen so far I’m definitly bringing new stuff home!

    Crystal R.
  • June 19, 2008

    Great info! Thanks Crystal! LUCKY AF!!!

    Joelle
  • June 19, 2008

    Correction: I meant to say that the AF restrictions on weight have been lifted so they can bring more of their furniture. Not that they were the only ones allowed to bring furniture. My understanding is that the Navy and USMC still have weight restrictions where as AF does not.

    Crystal R
  • June 19, 2008

    We just went to housing brief this week. For Airforce people because they are allowed to bring their own furniture the housing office does not give them furniture for more than 90 days so bring your stuff or be prepared to buy it here. Rules seem to be changing daily here but this was briefed to us on Tuesday afternoon.

    Crystal R
  • June 19, 2008

    Japan update has a choice for posting ads. There is a link for posting a free ad. I think it may just be hidden. Another good one that’s free out here is Milcir.com. It says it’s for autos but it has everything there AND you get to put up a pic unlike Japan Update’s free ad section. Good Stuff!:)

    Suzy
  • June 18, 2008

    Thanks Julie for the web link. I checked it out but it seems on that website you have to pay to post an ad? Craigslist is free of charge. I like free;)

    Lydia
  • June 18, 2008

    I think the reason why Craigslist isn’t as popular is because many folks here in Okinawa use Japan Update to buy/sell/get rid of things. It’s a local paper. Here is the link:http://www.japanupdate.com/

    Julie
  • June 18, 2008

    This may be a little off topic but I am just wondering why this website is not popular yet in Okinawa….the website is http://okinawa.craigslist.jp. It is a big hit here is Anchorage, Alaska where I live and military families use it to sell all sorts of things when they are PCSing. It really helps to get rid of all that unwanted junk while at the same time makes you extra PCS money! I am hoping to spread the word while I am in okinawa so that people will start using it. It can really be a resource if you are looking for something in particular but would not mind the item being used. Just thought I would share that link and maybe some people could start using it there.

    Lydia
  • June 17, 2008

    Don’t know what he means about the 60 days on loaner furniture because my understanding is that the LOVELY (sarcasm) government furniture that we all have access to is for the whole THREE YEARS or however long you have orders here.

    The government gives you a dining room table, but we ended up purchasing a small table for in the kitchen — so if you like yours, you may want to bring it. As for the sofa — just depends. We have the LOVELY greenish-grayish-ickyish government issue one. But with two toddlers, I might as well mess up/spill all over a loaner that will just get cleaned real well before we go than messing up a nice one of my own… 🙂

    Joelle
  • June 17, 2008

    Hello. I, like many others, am glad to have come across this website. Our orders to Kadena are for Aug this summer, and we’re in the midst of separating our items for the move. We’re trying to get on the housing list, but have heard that living off base is pretty wonderful from our sponsors – so we’re pretty excited either way. We weren’t planning to bring anything other than our one year old child’s crib/toddler bedroom set, two queen beds and maybe night tables. We thought about leaving our rather large couch/sectional – and getting something loaner or purchasing something more suitable out there. Should we just bring the couch? Also, should we bring our round breakfast table – or are there still tables that you can loan? My husband was told that there really isn’t any loaner furniture for past 60 days or so. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

    DeAnn
  • May 21, 2008

    Good memory, Nicole! I had used the stickies and it worked out really well:

    I used 1 1/2″ stickies in fluorescent colors – green stickies meant pack & take it, hot pink meant leave it behind. The movers LOVED that system and I wasn’t as worried about things going that shouldn’t have just because I wasn’t right on top of them.

    The only things they didn’t take were light bulbs (so take them out first), booze, liquid toiletries (which I was packing anyway) and cleaning fluids. We did ship a few things to our FPO (lotion, shaving cream, shampoo/conditioner, etc.) – and it arrived before our household goods.

    Mold shouldn’t be an issue if you’re conscious of it – off base housing has dehumidifiers built into the a/c, on base you probably want dehumidifiers for the rooms. I’ve noticed that some furniture got musty in my daughter’s room and cleaned it promptly.

  • May 20, 2008

    Ron – I think Nicole has the right idea. We are packing out in June (coming to Okinawa in July also) and when I met with the moving guy who is doing both our Non-Temp storage and our HHG shipment he was really helpful (wow, can you believe that?) and he said that most people try and separate as much as possible and put large notes on items (or doors of closets or furniture) stating whether they go or not with that particular shipment. Another idea is if you have a garage or basement, separating it into a couple of sections so that it is easier to determine what goes where. He (the nice man from the moving place) told me that the packer’s really appreciate any information that makes it simpler, and that it makes it easier on you, so that you aren’t running around trying to pick through everything as they are trying to pack.
    Best of luck and happy organizing!

    Kelly A
  • May 19, 2008

    Lydia, Yes you will need to separate every thing. Some one said they used post-it notes in different colors. We had all 3 pack outs separated in to rooms and closets.This will help the movers, but I found it helpful for myself to, because it hepled me figuer out what we had and how much was comming. So yes use rooms it is way easier to tell the movers pack everything in this room and not that one. (I even put a note on the door of the room I don’t want packed)
    I also made sure that the nontemporary storage was the last so if any thing was forgotten at least it got stored. hope that helps

    Nicole
  • May 19, 2008

    Ron, yes I’ve had problems with moldy books. I had them in a spare, non-climate controlled room in a bookcase under the window. If you have a dehumidifier in your room though, you should be fine. Other books I keep in my living room haven’t had a problem at all.

    kellyerace
  • May 19, 2008

    I am also moving to Okinawa in July. My concern is how do I separate my things in the home for transportation to pack? I know that I can ship 5,000 pounds (we are Army) but they will come and pack it all. Do you separate things into rooms or does anyone have better ideas?

    Lydia
  • May 15, 2008

    I have been wavering between bringing my library or sending it to storage. It’s not the space issue that I’m questioning, rather the MOLD one. Have any of you had problems with moldy books?

    Ron
  • April 26, 2008

    I apologize for the MPS story as I think I’m the one who first floated it! I was just home in the States last month and tried to MPS stuff to myself here — NO DICE! You can only do that from OCONUS to OCONUS. When we moved here it was from England, so we were good to use the MPS system. So sorry, but it evidently doesn’t work from the US to overseas places!!

    Joelle
  • April 25, 2008

    ok, we leave wednesday for oki! so exciting, and so stressful!! the packers left a TON of crap that i’m now going to have to mail to myself… but the base here says they won’t mail my stuff MPS. is there a secret handshake i need to know or a passcode to get these people to ship my junk? please shoot me an email at [email protected] if you have any info! thanks a ton.

    MA
  • March 30, 2008

    Clarification on the weight thing….if you exceed your weight limits for shipping here, or even for overall ammounts, you will usually not see a bill for it until you move back to the States because that is when the storage items are billed out for the overseas move.

    Weight limits for shipping here are different for each service and overall weight limits are a combination of express, household goods and storage shipments. Lots of people think that they can put every thing in storage and then buy an entire new house here, ship it home and not have a weight issue, but they do add in the storage to your total when you return.

  • February 22, 2008

    HI! We’ll be moving in April! I am so anxious! This will be our 8th move in 8 years! I have so many questions! So i get no leather jackets… but what about a leather couch? will it mold as well? in HI, my leather boots molded. ick.
    we’re planning on living off base (which doesn’t sound like such a great idea right now). we’ve looked online for a place to rent but can’t find one that is perfect. it’s either too small or too expensive. we’ll be at torii. we want to live on the beach. know anywhere we should be looking? also, will our tv and computers work there? how about kitchen appliances? i don’t know if i’ll be ablt to function without my kitchenaid and my waffle maker! you can email me directly if you have time. anything would be much appreiated. thanks!!!!

    MA
  • February 18, 2008

    The express ship can’t have furniture in it unless you have a little one. Our babies crib came in the express ship because it is something that base supply doesn’t have to supply you with until yours gets here! You do have to have it taken apart and ready to go and tell them to take it!

  • February 18, 2008

    Thanks for your post, Bonne. Wonderful advice to take leave to give your shipments plenty of time to get here. Make sure that you keep track of it while on leave to make sure that your shipments are in transit. Upon arrival in Okinawa after taking a month’s leave to visit family, we found out that our large shipment didn’t even leave our last port due to one piece of missing information! Oh, well. We made do w/our express shipment for about 3 months, but it wasn’t ideal w/2 little ones. 🙂

    Good to hear that you’re from Virginia. Our last duty station was there and we loved it! Best of luck on your exciting move here to Okinawa – let us know if you need anything once you get here!
    Take care,
    Lan

    Lan
  • February 17, 2008

    I’m so happy to have found this site. I found it about a month ago while researching for our move and have passed it on to another family who is following behind us to Oki. We will be there in early April and will be staying for 3 years. This site has helped make me excited instead of nervous.
    My suggestion to any one who is going to Oki is take leave before you go. We are taking a month. We are currnetly stationed in California and are from Virginia. So in 2 weeks our house will be packed up and we can go home and visit while its in transit. Our express shipment is supposedly going to beat us there and our HHG shipment will be there not too long after we arrive. It hasn’t happend yet, but I’m already glad we have done it this way. I’ve heard some stories of people being out there for months and months without any of their stuff. Thanks again for this great site..you’ll be hearing from me again. 🙂

    Bonne
  • February 9, 2008

    does anyone know what the selection of King beds is like on any of the bases? We are thinking of leaving our one and buying a new one once we get there. I know someone said they had them, but is there much choice for KING?
    Thanks
    p

    Pamelala
  • February 2, 2008

    I am trying to be conservitive n the weight. I do have tp have most of my shoes of course come with me 🙂 other wise we will be traveling pretty light. I want no suprises on the other end

    Lisa
  • January 29, 2008

    We just had our pack out. The movers told us when we where getting close (est only) there is no real way to know for sure untill they get the truck weighed. The driver told me they usually count one crate as 1000 lbs. We had 4 and 3/4 crates, I was stressing out! We did feed them(we usualy offer food any way),and one of the packers told the driver to “take care of my girl”. That was last week and no one has said any thing. I think the reason for the weight they give us is to make us think about what we are bringing so we only ship esentials. We have 3 kids so of course we will have more than some that have smaller families.
    So don’t stress out too much just really look at what you are taking, I have read that the dining sets and dressers are fine for while you are there. also why dammage you nice stuff mooving it half way across the world (imho). we did bring our couch because we really like it, and our king bed bc I need my big bed! I hope this helps, and that we wont get a big suprise when we get there with a bill for being over! Good luck!

    Nicole
  • January 29, 2008

    I saw 11,000 and I was jealous!! LOL
    We only rate 1,000 lbs express and 25% of our total alotted weight. Heck that won’t even cover my shoes!! 🙂

    lIsa
  • January 27, 2008

    Weight allowances: I don’t think the movers have anything to do with it — they’ll pack what you’ve got. SUPPOSEDLY (and MUCH stress added there) they charge you on this end if you have too much. Have NEVER met anyone who was charged. NEVER. But that doesn’t mean they can’t. 🙂

    Bunk beds: Just wanted to mention that we went to the Furniture/Home Store on Foster and had them order nice wooden bunk beds for us out of the catalog. It took about 6 weeks to arrive, but I just planned ahead for that. Wonder if you could order from AAFES in the States to have it sent on to Oki before you leave home???

    Joelle
  • January 26, 2008

    11,000 is the total weight that you can have including your stateside storage. You are aloud to ship a fraction of that here (thus the government furniture for loan). However, our friends did go over there weight that they were aloud to ship here (I want to say it is like 1/2 of your total) and never had to pay. Once we got here we have found others with the same story (shipped everything but the car). I don’t know if anyone that reads this has had that experience and can verify also!

    Bambi Caldwell
  • January 26, 2008

    I went to TMO today and sorted all the mathematics out! I am hoping we don’t go over, we are in a condo anyway so we don’t have a huge amount of stuff, but want to make sure the kids beds, desks, etc get in, the rest I’ll worry about later! Might just have to leave the kitchen table I guess…It’ll be interesting to see other people’s weight experiences. I think there was a posting about it before (about feeding the movers and they might be nice!)
    P

    Pamelala
  • January 26, 2008

    actually our weight is more like Lisa’s, I think I was slightly confused with the 11,000!!!
    I think that is the TOTAL (including non temp storage in the states…)

    Pamelala
  • January 25, 2008

    Oh grest so I will hve hubby ask the sponsor to make us an appt 1st thing monday. And did you say that the sponsor can get us an address 1 month before we get there? Taht would be great!!

    Lisa
  • January 25, 2008

    Our sponsor took our orders into the post office and got it for us. The sponsor can get it for you up to 1 month out from you coming as long as they have your orders

    Bambi Caldwell
  • January 25, 2008

    I am not sure where else to ask this but how and when do you get your APO or FPO?

    Nicole
  • January 25, 2008

    That’s good to know about the address.
    Apparently we rate near to 2,000lbs for the express and 11,000 for the regular shipment…

    Pamelala
  • January 24, 2008

    Courtney Lodge is the ideal place for people stationed on Hansen. Makes it easy for hubby to get up to Hansen to do the things he needs, housing office (the one you would need to go to) is across the road, gym and library close by (about a 10 min. walk) and 5 min. further is a food court, shoppette (7 day store in the states), and movie theater. If it is summer the pool is also right there. You will have to travel for the new commers class, but there is a bus that picks you up right there!
    Have your sponsor make you an appointment for first thing Monday morning. You will get in late Friday, and they aren’t open Saturdays. Our appointment was at 8 am. No one else had been in off our flight so we were ahead of the pack!

    Bambi Caldwell
  • January 24, 2008

    Hey ladies I have a question since hubby will be on Hanson I understand we’ll be either at McT or Courtney housing…..what lodge should we make reservations at when we arrive? I have heard Courtney lodge. Is that close to a housing office? Also we leave San Diego on a thursday morning what day would be the 1st day we can get to the housing office? Are they closed on Saturdays?

    lisa
  • January 24, 2008

    Hi Nicole,
    We will be PCSing to Oki in a few weeks so knowing you’ll be going in Aug gives you plenty of time to get stuff organized. Remember you have a weight limit and if you go past it the Navy will come to collect. Also I got great advice to downsize what I have because we may want to buy stuff while we’re there. They still only allow a certian amt of weight total. I think for us USMC we were allowed 1,000 express (gets there in 2/3 weeks) and 3,200 ( all the other stuff) Plus these nice ladies have told me there is items we can borrow so we don’t have to bring alot.
    You should take this time to get all your medical stuff and area clearance stuff done. Oh and if you have pets get that taken care of.
    This site has been very helpful to me and I had a WHOLE lot less time to absorb the fact we are leaving soon EEEEKKK 🙂

    Lisa
  • January 24, 2008

    its suppose to say slide in place of ladder. all bunk beds have ladders!

    Bambi Caldwell
  • January 24, 2008

    Bunk Beds are a yes. The rooms here are tiny and we had the one with the built in desk, dresser, and book shelf. Needless to say we left it in the states (lucky at my parents and not in storage so it does still get used!). However, the rooms here with all that furniture leave little play area! Regardless of the bunk bed style, you want it bring it. They have no wood ones, one that is a single bed but up about 4 feet with a ladder attatched, one that is a regular height bunk bed with a desk under (again, 1 bed), and and then 1 that has the full size bed on bottom and twin size bed on top. At least 2 weekends ago that was there only selection!

    Bambi Caldwell
  • January 24, 2008

    We actually bought bunk beds when we got here from AAFES — wanted our boys in the same room together. So I’d say yes to those!

    Joelle
  • January 24, 2008

    NicoleC,

    If your husband is working at the Navy hospital you’ll probably be offered housing on Camp Lester (where the hospital is actually located) or Camp Foster which is very close by. I would say a 5-10 minute drive depending where exactly on base. Camp Butler is also relatively close by so that could be a possibility as well. There is also plenty of off-base housing in this area.

    I’m bad with the advice on what to bring. I’m a Libra so I can barely make decisions for myself. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say yes on both the large couch and bunk beds though. Anybody else want to weigh in here???

    Julia

    Julia
  • January 24, 2008

    Thanks so much for getting back to me. My husband will be working at the Navy hospial. Does that mean we will live near there? I have a very large couch should I sell it here and buy something smaller and send that instead? Bunk beds yes or no?

    nicolec
  • January 23, 2008

    I think the small shipments arrive in 3-4 weeks and the large shipments in 2-3 months. Temporary lodging is comfortable so no real worries there. The bigger issue is transportation and getting someone to lend you a car or to rent one until the two weeks or so when you can buy your own. As for king beds I would take some measurements and make sure it’ll fit thru the doorway of whatever place you’re in. If you live on base my bet is that it will fit. Julia says off base they will fit stuff thru your window if need be.

    Downtown Julie Brown
  • January 23, 2008

    Hi Nicole C.

    When we arrived we stayed at temporary lodging on Camp Foster which was set up for us by our sponsor. Our stay was to be indefinite…basically however long it took us to find something more permanent. We had an appointment with the housing office the following week which I think was also set up for us by our sponsor. They did such a fantastic job of getting us settled in and making us feel welcome. Thanks Shelly and Fred if you’re reading this from afar!
    Here’s the link to the Westpac if you’re curious about it.
    http://www.mccsokinawa.com/lodging/index.asp?lodge=2

    If you’re Air Force you may be put up at the Shogun instead.
    http://kadenaservices.com/lodging.html

    On-base or off-base is up to you. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. A lot of it will depend on what is available on-base and personal preference. If you check under the To Live category you’ll see sub-categories for on-base and off-base housing so you can get a better idea of some of the options out here. There’s also a popular post about on-base vs. off-base that should be helpful.
    http://www.okinawahai.com/2007/03/to-live-on-or-o.html

    We actually had our things packed out and shipped out early so it was already on its way while we visited family before leaving the States. The shipment was already here by the time we had picked our place so waiting for our beds was not an issue for us. Not sure how long it typically takes for a shipment to get here.

    Hope this helps.
    Julia

    Julia
  • January 23, 2008

    We will be arriving in Okinawa in Aug.We are new to the military and I really know nothing about how this all works.We have 2 boys.(10&8)How do you now where you will be living?Do you pick on-base or off? What do you sleep on while you are waiting for your beds? Do you send it ahead of you? What if our kng size bed doesn’t fit in our room? So many questions so little time. This is the best source of information. Thank you for this great site.

    nicolec
  • January 9, 2008

    MPS means “Military Postal System” and it’s basically a free, TOTALLY uninsurable, way to ship between FPO/APO addresses. For instance, our last base was in England and when they picked up our Express shipment, we had several boxes (12!) that didn’t fit. I took them to the base and mailed them to “myself” at my new FPO address here in Okinawa. Like I said, they arrived beautifully & quickly. There is no charge, but there is no way to trace them or insure them or anything like that.

    An additional plus is that all the Christmas cards or care packages I mailed to fellow service members who are stationed in the Gulf or whatever, I can just write “MPS” where the stamp should go and that goes for free as well.

    Another option for those of you who have “valuables” you don’t trust to the movers: we were told that if we weren’t OVER on our weight allowance (fat chance, I know) that anything we mailed and paid for (meaning priority w/ insurance or whatever) could be reimbursed to us. I have a friend who mailed her photo albums that way cuz she didn’t trust the moving company.

    Joelle
  • January 9, 2008

    I have never heard about the MPS to an APO. Can someone please explain how to do this? Are there any restrictions on size or weight?Thanks so much for all the helpful information!

    a
  • January 9, 2008

    Kim — Yes — that’s exactly what I did with about 12 boxes!! They all arrived quickly and in good shape.

    Nicole — If you don’t bring your lawn mower you will either have to buy one here, share with a neighbor, or hire someone to do your lawn. I would have brought one if we’d had one. Car seats: We had bought a new Britax before coming here — it ended up being a bit of a waste because most of the cars here are older and so don’t have the hooky-things to latch into. Our car seats are just in there with the seat belts, so keep that in mind. As for BBQ, I think they have a pretty decent selection between Kadena & Foster BX. We bought “the Judge” — it’s huge!

    Joelle
  • January 9, 2008

    Thanks so much for this wonderful site! We are getting ready to pcs there in March,and will be stationed at Kadena. We are Hoping to live on base. My question is do we bring our lawn mower? Also I was wondering about car seats are there any tips? will the ones I have work in the cars there? oh and should we get a barbecue before we get there or do they have an ok selection at the bx?
    thanks so much again for the help!

    Nicole
  • January 8, 2008

    I have a question about sending boxes MPS. Do you go to the base post office here in the States and ask for it to be shipped MPS to the APO address? Do you write you APO address as the return to address as well? Thanks so much!

    Kim
  • December 31, 2007

    Pam-

    You can purchase a King Size bedframe here. There’s a furniture store on Camp Foster that has a large array of beds, couches, dressers, etc.. Shower curtains, rods, etc can be purchased at the PX/BX. But the pickings are slim. If you want a design that no one has, you should plan on bringing it.

    Snuffleupagus
  • December 31, 2007

    does anyone know if it is possible to buy a king bed base out there or should I just plan on bringing mine, I was thinking of getting a new one since our ikea one has some sharp corners and if I could get a new one out there I would. What about shower curtains and rods, should I bring some?
    Thanks all!

    Pamelala
    • February 22, 2012

      There is also a furniture store called Yellow Box which sells all Ashley Furniture and they have plenty of king size beds.

      Debbie
  • December 24, 2007

    Kristen – a while back I submitted photos of our gov’t furniture we’re borrowing. (an end table, dining table & chairs – they give you 4 – tall & short dressers, and bookcase)

    Visit http:[email protected]/1035474201/in/photostream/ and flip through the 5 or so pictures of the 1970’s laminate wood furniture. It’s not gorgeous, but we’re not here forever. It’s fine.

    You are issued different amounts depending on how many family members; you get 1 tall chest of drawers and 1 short one per person, 1 night stand per person, 1 dining table with 2 leaves (can fit 8 people, but you only get 4 chairs), 2 book cases (they’re only 3 shelves apiece), a desk & plain wood chair, and if you need beds the biggest you get (for you & your spouse) is a full-sized bed. We borrowed one until our beds came in our household goods shipment and it was really clean – not bad at all. Brand new mattress. We didn’t need a sofa or chair, but I know they have those too. Hope that answers the questions; oh, and at the housing office they show you pictures of the furniture and give you a list of exactly what you are entitled to. Try to bring what you can. I wish I’d brought my computer desk & chair. Otherwise, I know we would’ve been over the weight limit, so it’s fine for 3 years to use their table & chairs, etc. Good luck & have an easy move!

  • December 24, 2007

    We’ll be PCSing to Kadena this summer and I’m so glad I found this site! I had heard that we were not suppossed to bring any of our own furniture but after reading the comments here, I see that bringing at least some of it is a good idea. My question is… what is the government issued furniture like? What types and how much do they give you? I have heard that the quality has improved in recent years but I’m wondering how nice or “used” it is. We haven’t decided if we will be living on or off-base yet. We may wait and see what base housing is available when we get there and then decide.

    Thanks in advance! You guys are a wealth of information and I will be checking in here often!

    Kristen
  • December 23, 2007

    I bet that they did mean taxidermy animals. That makes perfect sense! Thanks!
    I guess that’s the first of many things that will be confusing because of language translations. I love this website and I have been a regular visitor for 3 months. Thanks for providing this great resource.

    Kristi
  • December 22, 2007

    We had a ton of stuffed animals come with us and we have had some shipped here (build-a-bear is so awesome!!! We also get them from WWF) I will tell you that you can bring your childs fuzzy friends as we did and so did our friends that came at the same time as us!!

    Bambi Caldwell
  • December 22, 2007

    Kristi, that’s just not true. I think they MIGHT mean actual animals that have been stuffed; as in taxidermy. THAT would make sense. Plush Mickey Mouse can come – we had boxes full of them for my daughter.

  • December 22, 2007

    I got a list of items that you cannot ship into Japan. It said we can’t bring stuffed animals! Has any one ever heard of this? Did you leave all of your kid’s fuzzy friends in storage? I would hate for my daughter to go without some favorites. She would probably outgrow them by the time we return.

    Kristi
  • December 10, 2007

    I’m seconding Aviva & Jennifer’s comments. We mailed about 12 boxes to ourselves because the movers ended up just leaving stuff that we wanted packed. Everything arrived fast and unbroken through MPS.

    I knew I had gone over by about 300 lbs because I called the moving company after things were weighed. I was panicked we’d have to pay, but as mentioned above, not one word was said. (Kinda wish I’d known that before cuz I wouldn’t have tried so hard or panicked so much!)

    Joelle
  • December 10, 2007

    I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but here’s a helpful hint if you’re new to the military or moving overseas for the first time – you can mail items to yourself at your new duty station for free (though regular post office restrictions on size/weight do still apply) if sent from one “military post office” to another through the military system – just say you want to send it “MPS.”
    Before you move, your sponsor may set up your military post office box for you – if you don’t yet have an address, perhaps you can send it to your military member’s work address.
    I sent packages to my husband in Iraq using MPS, and they arrived in less than 2 weeks, so they seem to arrive in a reasonable amount of time.

    JenniferV
  • December 10, 2007

    Brought our 55″ rear-projection tv, no issues. It’s about total weight (supposedly – we never heard boo as to how much our stuff weighed or if we were over). Every person I ask here said they were never given a hard time about being over on weight and they went WAY over. Definitely agree with Tara- depends on the movers. We had great experienced ones who packed everything VERY well. They didn’t break anything and nothing arrived broken, and we only lost the hardware for my daughter’s bed (kind of a bummer b/c it was Ikea and I had to have my mom go buy it and ship it here) and one of my hand-mixer attachments. I have nothing but good things to say – that being said, I’ve heard some bad stories about “bad movers” or moving experiences.

    I used 1 1/2″ stickies in fluorescent colors – green stickies meant pack & take it, hot pink meant leave it behind. The movers LOVED that system and I wasn’t as worried about things going that shouldn’t have just because I wasn’t right on top of them.

    The only things they didn’t take were light bulbs (so take them out first), booze, liquid toiletries (which I was packing anyway) and cleaning fluids. We did ship a few things to our FPO (lotion, shaving cream, shampoo/conditioner, etc.) – and it arrived before our household goods.

    Hope that all helps.

  • December 9, 2007

    Our TV is 32-36 inches (don’t remember) & our packers had no issue whatsoever with it. Though I’m not sure if they might’ve if it hadn’t been a flat-panel.

    Some movers are great about what they allow, and some really suck. Mine kinda sucked (nice guys, but crappy restrictions). They didn’t pack ANY of my daily toiletries (lotions, shampoo, etc), including skin care products that were still *shrink-wrapped*, yet they packed big bottles of BBQ sauce. I understand not packing perfume/cologne/alcohol, but come on. And then not grabbing the cotton balls & tampons from a box just because it had a couple lotions next to them… I have 4 or 5 banker’s boxes full of stuff that I have to mail to myself now because they wouldn’t pack it and I refuse to spend the hundreds of dollars to buy it all again (if even available in Oki). They never ONCE asked what was in the boxes that I had packed and sealed before they arrived… if I had known they wouldn’t, I would’ve packed more stuff myself.

    Either way, if you have questions about any particular items, call the moving company directly once you find out who’s doing it. Don’t count on the guy who does the on-site survey (to make sure they bring enough packing stuff) to know or get back to you. Ours sure didn’t, and our movers were rather annoyed that he didn’t tell them about some of the things we were bringing. And even then, it might depend on the mood of the packers the day they come (provide cold drinks and maybe some pizza, and you may get away with things that normally would be refused).

    Tara
  • December 9, 2007

    Hey Pamelala:) We brought a 36″ tv and they didn’t say anything to us. I’m not sure if they ship the huge tvs, but give it a try anyway. If they say no, you can always store it. You might be surprised, they might not say anything about it anyway. The movers don’t really seem to care what they pack. I had some stuff in a cabinet that I had no intentions of bringing (like an almost empty bottle of vinegar) but they packed them anyway? Weird huh?:)

    Suzy
  • December 8, 2007

    my husband was just told by TMO that they don’t ship tv’s more than 27″…is this a joke? Has anyone shipped anything bigger, I am sure I have read of people shipping LCD’s etc etc…

    Pamelala
  • December 6, 2007

    Stephanie, you can get up to 12 x 18’s there as well (still cheap). I have two in my front room right next to each other and it pretty much covers the whole area. Some people love hard floors — but I’m a carpet lover! 🙂

    Joelle
  • December 6, 2007

    Hi Stephanie,
    The furniture store here on Camp Foster sells area rugs for reasonable prices. They’re very generic, 5 x 8 rugs for only $40. Or of course, they can get more expensive according to size and design. There are also vendors both on and off-base who sell Oriental and Persian rugs as well. If you will be living off-base, the floors will most likely be either hardwood, tile, or linoleum. I believe that it’s a hit or miss w/on-base housing. Some will have carpet, some will have linoleum.
    Hope this helps and safe travels!
    -Lan

    Lan
  • December 6, 2007

    What about area rugs? I’m about to move to Oikinawa and I don’t own any rugs right now because our appartment is mostly carpet. How is it there? Should I buy something before I move?

    Stephanie
  • November 6, 2007

    Just my two cents on what I expected and what came to be…We packed as if we would be moving into a 1200 sq ft apt/townhouse and ended up actually living in a 1900 sq ft American style house off base by Torii Station. We brought leather sectional, dining room set, all my kitchen dishes and gadgets, a king bed, a queen bed, a plasma tv, a large computer desk, 2 large shelving units, a bar, a grill and a lot of clothes (though largely scaled down). In the end the only thing I would have left behind was one shelving unit and I would have brought our patio furniture. We have a large two car garage, walk-in closets, a very large master bedroom, a storage room and a nice sized yard and patio, so space didn’t turn out to be an issue afterall. We did end up spending about $200-$250 at a Japanese home store to put up curtains throughout the house. Also I have never had a problem using my credit/debit card at Japanese stores so far and I do love their women’s clothing stores. I wouldn’t worry about being offensive in regards to clothing unless your visiting a temple or a shrine.

    Farrah
  • November 6, 2007

    Catherine Claire: I’m going to respond briefly to your questions that I can – however, Okinawa is obviously not Misawa, so take that into consideration.

    -furniture – the doors in places out in town often have an extra panel that opens up wider. Look for that & elevator/balcony access when you look for a home. I most definitely plan on bringing my leather couch & seat home with me, and they’re doing just fine. The dehumidifier works just great. Damaged goods – well, that could happen in any moves.

    – Suede- you might be able to wear it at some point in the winter. I’d say leave most of it behind (my opinion). The microsuede will be fine.

    – closets- totally depends on the place you choose, but generally not as much closet space in Japan. You can find many space-saving solutions at stores out in town though, so don’t buy stuff in the states that you may not need here.

    – clothing. *sigh* people here are petite. I, personally, do not fit in Japanese women’s clothing because I have breasts bigger than tangerines. Can I find some things? Absolutely. But I wish I’d brought more clothing with me b/c now I buy online.

    – Yes, they sell bikes at the PX. Buy it here if you think you’ll ride it around town. Okinawan streets are narrow & dangerous, I wouldn’t bike ride much here.

    – you can buy OR rent camping gear here. Some places also have campers for rent.

    – On base the ATMs give yen and dollars. Don’t worry about doing anything before you come unless you want to get an account with a financial institution that exists on the base there. (like here we have B of A & Navy Fed…)

    – People cover up in Okinawa. It’s considered “low class” to have a tan. But the girls wear heels almost everywhere and short shorts & skirts. I do know they mostly don’t wear tank-tops or show their shoulders much, but that might just be my observation. It’s been a while since I felt I could wear a miniskirt, so I won’t answer this. 🙂

    – Look into some of the culture classes when you arrive or on the local Air Force website for Misawa, you can usually take these classes at no cost. Have an easy move, hope this helped.

  • November 6, 2007

    Walter – my husband is exactly like you – WILL NOT sleep in heat/sweat. We are allotted $500 per month (what we actually receive fluctuates with the yen rate, of course) for utilities at his rank. We spent well over $400 per month in electricity in the summer. (the rest of it went toward other utilities like Internet, water & gas). We haven’t gone over the $500 – but we were at $498 in July. This is being pretty conscious and turning off the units in the rooms when we aren’t here. We live in an 1100 sq foot 3/br apartment with 4 A/C units.

    Central air is pretty rare in housing in town – there are units in each room. This is good because you aren’t cooling areas you aren’t sleeping in, for example, but you do have to run them to dehumidify as well to prevent mold.(the units are heaters, a/c and dehumidifiers, which is nice)

    The electricity factor depends on other things:
    -There is solar power in my building, which I’m TOLD is cheaper. Jeez -then I’m sure others come out of pocket on their electricity bills around here during the summer.
    – we have a lot of electronica – computers, big-screen TV, small flat screen, stereo equipment, etc. Maybe that adds to the $$ here.
    -square footage/amount of rooms will make a difference. My neighbors have 4-floor 4-bedroom walk-ups, and they definitely pay over $500/month in the summer.

    It’s probably a wise idea to put aside a little piggy bank during the winter months when you can open windows for those summer bills. Something we’ll do this winter as we arrived in mid-June and got the worst of it first! Hope that helps.

  • November 5, 2007

    My fiance has only been in the air force since August. We found that his first assignment is at Misawa. We have less than three months to prepare for the move, and it’s been difficult getting information on what to expect since he’s still in tech school 10 hours a day and we can’t talk much. I’m excited to go to japan, but also stressed out feeling so uninformed. I have a million questions.

    We have no idea if we’ll have on or off base housing. Assuming we are offbase and can’t afford a large, American style home, are the smaller houses/apatments large enough for American-sized furniture. (i.e. queen sized bed, 7ft. sofa). I love my bed and my mom has offered to buy me a new 7ft sofa for my move. I’d love to take her up on it, but I worry that if we get offbase housing, it may not fit through the doorway. Are they narrower in Japan? Has anyone had problems moving in their furniture?

    Also, I saw some of the posts saying not to bring anything you want to bring back with you. I would want to bring my bed and the new couch back. Does that mean I shouldn’t bring them? Is it safe to take a brand new couch or do things get severely damaged on the way over? How common is that?

    Do the comments about leather apply to suede? I know it rains a lot in Misawa, will there ever be an opportunity to wear suede or should I leave my suede skirts/jackets behind? The couch we are looking at is microsuede (imitation suede/polyster). Does anyone know if water/humidity have a damaging affect on micro-suede?

    Also, what are the closets like on and offbase? I have a ton of clothes and am used to a walkin closet. Should I purchase some studio-style freestanding clothes racks from Ikea or Target?

    Is clothing reasonably priced there? I was considering donating a lot of my clothes and buying some new wardrobe in Japan. Is it more worth it to purchase small furniture items as souvenirs, rather than clothes?

    Do they sell adult size bicycles on base? How does purchasing one there compare to bringing one from the states? (I don’t currently own one)

    What about camping gear? I’ve read that there are a lot beautiful places to camp near Misawa, and was thinking of bring a nice heavy duty tent set. Do you recommend I wait to buy?

    I’ve read that Japan is mostly cash-based and that there are few atm’s there. Is this true? Should I come with USD or have the money in my account converted to yen before arriving? How do the stores on base work?

    Are there any clothes considered offensive or in poor taste in Japan? I have a lot of summertime mini skirts, are they inappropriate?

    I really know almost nothing about my new country, and would like to be as sensitive to the culture as possible. We’ll be stationed there for at least 2 years, and I’d like to assimilate myself as much as possible while we’re there.

    Thanks to anyone who can answer any of my questions. Reading the responses that were posted before me has illumianted a lot for me. I’m sure I’ll think of plenty more to ask in the weeks to come.

  • November 5, 2007

    Many people post that electricity is expensive. But what does that mean? How much monthly? If I take a job there, I plan on an american style house and central AC.
    I can’t sleep when it is hot.

    Walter
  • October 9, 2007

    Washer/Dryer are supplied, but if you bring yours you can send them back. We have our water cooler because we go through 2 jugs in 1 week. There is a company that will deliver for you, on base, they are Pai Water Oasis.
    Living Room furniture depends on what size house and if you want toys in the living room or not.

    Bambi
  • October 9, 2007

    I’ll be heading that way in the spring and I was wondering about a few items to bring… Washer and dryer, water cooler (requires 5 gal jugs), and a patio set.
    Do you think these items okay to bring or better left behind?

    Also, other than sofa/loveseat and chair, is there enough room in the living rooms for end tables/coffee table and entertainment center? Or is it better to just have a small simple tv stand?

    Thanks

    smwilliams
  • September 28, 2007

    Every bit helps!
    You guys have been wonderful.
    Thank you so much.
    Kim

    Kim
  • September 26, 2007

    Bunk Beds-Yellow Box(out in town by Kadena) carries Ashley Furniture. If you can find it on there website you can order it in for around the same price as in the states. Shipping takes around 3 months if they dont have it in the store(childrens bedroom sets are all ordered, they dont usually carry them). The Base Furnniture store had 3 to choose from this weekend when we were there.
    Mattress depends on the season. Sometimes they have them in stock other times they need to be ordered(ours was Sept of 2006 and we had to order it in. It took 9 weeks).
    Microwaves are a small selection. I think there is like 3-4 to choose from. Price depends on size, but the same as in the states. We ended up ordering a nice one from walmart and having it shipped(usually takes 1-2 weeks because they ship priority. huge advantage. otherwise it takes 6 weeks).
    Hope this helps

    Bambi
  • September 26, 2007

    Thanks Julie.
    Should I bring my kids bunk bed or can I buy this in Okinawa. How about mattress do they have good selection in Okinawa bases? Also, I am thinking about buying a new microwave in the base. Do they have them if so is that expensive?
    Thanks,
    Kim

    Kim
  • September 26, 2007

    Courtney – BRING THAT DRESS – there is a ball, and you will not find much here. So go for it! Thanks for the link, Bambi – I only noticed that myself recently, after hounding my husband to find out the date so I could plan for it.
    Ah men…

  • September 26, 2007

    Yes they have a formal Birthday Ball for the Marine Corps. If you go to http://www.mccsokinawa.com website it has the ball information for this year on there(link in the left column says Birthday Ball). You can even click on the calendar to see when your unit’s ball is scheduled for. T

    Bambi
  • September 26, 2007

    I was wondering if they have a formal Marine Corps birthday ball in Okinawa. I wasn’t sure if I should bring a formal dress or not. Does anyone know?

    Courtney Merkel
  • September 25, 2007

    Hi Kim,
    I was looking at your furniture list and I think it depends on how much you want your stuff to match. The king size bed would be expensive to get here. Otherwise the night stands and book shelves are easy to get here at bazaars and the gift shops which carry a lot of furniture from thailand and phillippines for reasonable prices. I would say anywhere from 50 dollars and up for the little stuff. Definitely bring your electronics as they are more expensive here. If you’re thinking of buying any electronics…computer, dvd-recorder etc, get it in the states before you come. Good luck with your move!

    downtownjuliebrown
  • September 24, 2007

    Lets clarify, it is a little over $5000 a year. Then they split it into 10 monthly payments so it ends up being a little over $500 per month. I did write month and it should have been year. Thank you for catching it.

    Bambi
  • September 24, 2007

    Did you mean $500 a month?

    Joelle
  • September 24, 2007

    They dont wear uniforms, but I wish they did. That is one of the downfalls!!! We pay a little over $5000 a month, but we have bus fee added into it and I dont know which is what price. You set up payment and a company and they pay it for you to the company in yen.

    Bambi
  • September 24, 2007

    Bambi,
    Thanks for your comment.
    According to their website yearly tuition is about 525,000 Yen for per each kids.
    That is equivalent to $5,000, right?
    I have 5 grader and kindergartner.
    Do they wear uniform?
    Kim

    Kim
  • September 24, 2007

    Kim-
    Okinawa Christian School is a lot better than the base schools. It is pricey, but well worth the investment. Starting in Junior High they take japanese where as the elementary kids on base are taking spanish(some classes are starting it this year, its a new program). OCSI also keeps a consistant schedule where as the DOD school will change it in a moments notice for 1/2 days or what have you.
    Very Happy with It
    Hope this helps

    Bambi
  • September 24, 2007

    Thanks for all your advice. Keep it coming!

    This weekend was our first Garage Sale!!!
    I didn’t know how hard it is to let go of stuff! I think we will sell the leather couch here and get a new one in Okinawa. I am little worry about my king size bed because of the size in rooms in Japan.
    And my other furniture such as Triple Dresser with mirror.
    Kim
    Kim

    Kim
  • September 23, 2007

    BRING the computer desk(s) and chair(s) because the selection here is pitiful (that’s the one thing I WISH we’d have brought).

    There are some great tent sales with furniture, and there were lots of futon sofas that I really would’ve bought! (not like the college junky ones) I’d recommend buying a futon here instead of paying to ship a very heavy open-up sofa. Or you can just buy a regular sofa here if you want to (not too many folks visit this place, so if you aren’t planning on many visitors, maybe it isn’t worth it to buy a pull-out couch or futon!)

    I agree with Lan – I love the plates, cups & bowls I found in town, and we got a regular plate set at the PX and it’s great – and was very inexpensive.

    Good luck!

  • September 23, 2007

    I had planned to buy couches when we arrived. The furniture store that Lan mentioned has lots of stuff, but they only have big sales a couple times a year and it seems to be mostly love seats & chairs (we’ve ended up with loaner/government stuff that helps me not worry as much about spilled juice, etc).

    Otherwise, for a new set at “full” price from Foster you’re looking at probably at $1000 for a sofa & chair. So you can compare the cost of shipping with buying a new one here — course it’s always fun to have new stuff!!

    But if there is something you love (for me it’s my All Clad pots/pans) then you should bring them — no need to be without “loved” stuff…

    Joelle
  • September 23, 2007

    Hi Kim,
    I have heard of several people who send their kids to Okinawa International Christian School and like it.

    Concerning your dishes/utensils, etc, you can get inexpensive ones at the 100 yen stores or even nicer ones at the on-base gift shops. And of course, there’s always the base exchanges that carry items similar to Target or Wal-mart. I don’t know how much you’d pay to have them shipped, but shopping for unique plates/mugs/cups is one of the joys of being on the island. I bought some okinawan drinking glasses that i absolutely love at a japanese flea market type shop (these glasses were never used) that were about 300 yen each.

    There’s also a furniture store on Camp Foster that sells leather couches and Yellow Box is also a popular furniture stop for Americans.

    Good luck and hope this helps a bit!

    Lan
  • September 23, 2007

    Yes, we will have access to base facilities.
    I guess correct term is civilian Contractor.
    My husband will be working at Kadena.

    Kim

    Kim
  • September 23, 2007

    Will you have access to base exchanges? Since you’re moving your own stuff can’t tell if you are military or something else?

    Joelle
  • September 23, 2007

    Hello everyone,

    I have been a daily reader to this blog since May and finally I will be arriving in Okinawa end of Oct. My kids will be going to Okinawa Christian School . Have you heard anything about this school?

    I am hoping that you can help me out with my dilemma. I have small moving list since we have to pay out of our pocket to ship our household stuff.

    My furniture list is like this:

    1 King size bed

    2 night stand

    1 triple dresser W/ mirror

    1 bunk bed

    1 kid’s computer desk & chair

    1 Computer desk

    1 dinning room table w/6 chairs

    1 book case

    1 TV

    1 TV Stand

    2 computers

    I have leather couch that has hideaway bed so it is very heavy so either need to shop for a new one before the mover comes or shop in Okinawa .

    What do you recommend? Also, should I bring (plates, bowl, mugs, utensils, pots and pans). As I stated above I have to pay to ship these so what do you think?

    It is worth awhile to ship those or just buy it from there? Any advice on this I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Kim

    Kim
  • August 22, 2007

    I live off base. During the summer we usually leave the dehumidifier on in the living room and rotate between the three bedrooms(upstairs). Most of the newer apartment will have A/C with dehumidifier option.

    chunkychun
  • August 22, 2007

    chunkychun, do you live on or off base, likelihood is that we will live off, do off basers leave their dehumidifiers on all day? do you need it year round…??
    questions, questions, I love this site!

    Pamela
  • August 21, 2007

    Pamela, of course every move has risks but our glass top kitchen table made it. My recommendation is bring what you use everyday at home and like b/c it may be hard to find similar things here.

    chunkychun
  • August 21, 2007

    The leather couch will likely be okay as long as you have your A/C or dehumidifier on in the living room, which we do almost constantly. We leave the dehumidifier on when we go out(less electricity than A/C).

    They sell propane grills at the exchange here so I’m sure they sell propane(I think at the gas station).

    chunkychun
  • August 21, 2007

    Curtains? Definitely! As I find curtains here a little pricey. Just be aware that on base and off base Japanese windows are differently sized then american ones. I have one thats 70in wide by 50 in long. You can’t predict it. Just bring them and see what happens. I think electronics are pricey too so I would bring the tv and computer as you can’t get the Best BUY deals here like in the states.

    downtownjuliebrown
  • August 21, 2007

    ok I have a strange question, my hubby asked me if I had heard if he could bring or should bring his grill? and do they sell propane for grills? I know its silly but to him its imporant. Thanks

    April
  • August 16, 2007

    I plan on bringing our king size bed, I don’t care (yet!) if it becomes our room! I also have the same question as Yolanda about the leather sofa. What about the kitchen table? ours is pretty new from Ikea and I am rather attached to it! Plasma tv? computer desk? We live in a 1127 sq ft condo (3 bed) so not too big and seems even smaller with 2 kids and a dog and a husband (esp. when I have just spent 3 hrs tidying and they all come in a wreck it in 3 mins!)
    What about curtains? Some days I am cool with the move others I think I am going to implode with chaos!

    Pamela
  • August 5, 2007

    What is your opinion on leather couches? Do you think they have a chance of surviving or should we sell them now? Thanks :o)

    Yolanda
  • July 6, 2007

    Hey,
    Govt furniture allows a limited number of bookcases (2, I think). They are pretty sturdy but we have a lot of books and two wasn’t going to do it. On the other hand, the base gift shops here actually carry a lot of very reasonably priced bookcases from Thailand and the Phillippines so they are readily available. In terms of furniture, if you have a particular style of furnishings you love, I would try and bring what you can from the states. American and Japanese furniture is pricey and limited here. These especially include sofas and beds. The BX here does have a furniture shop and prices are regular furniture store prices.

    However, if you like sort of a World Market style the gift shops get in lots of shipments of night stands, buffets, armoires, and bookcases from a variety of different countries. Teak furniture is also readily available. The prices for these pieces are very reasonable and most people end up buying a few things to PCS back to the states. Oriental rugs are also popular here.

    One last thing Jennifer, I assumed we would have to have off-base housing as well, turns out we were able to get on base within a few weeks of getting to the island so it definitely is possible!
    Hope that helps!

    downtownjuliebrown
  • July 5, 2007

    The movers come tomorrow, almost everything is divided for stay and go, the last item to be decided is bookcases. Is that something that gov’t has available, or should we bring? Thanks!

    Jennifer
  • May 22, 2007

    There are some funiture stores on and off base but the selection is limited. I would look back in the states first.

    chunkychun
  • May 22, 2007

    I’m so excited, our express shipment goes out in less than 2 weeks. Now, how easy is it to buy furniture there? Before we knew we were going to Okinawa, we promised to replace the sagging sofa( it’s now hard to get out of even though I’m not pregnant)and to replace our bed. We’ll definitely stick with a queen, and if there are good stores there just as happy to buy there and not have to wait for shipments or, should we purchase here and have it go out with the slow shipment?

    Jennifer
  • May 13, 2007

    I just remember wishing we’d brought a cordless phone. They didn’t sell them at the PX when we came here a year ago. We had to wait a month or two before we got one from the states. I’d forgotten what torture being chained to the phone is.

    To mbwilliams: Come on over!

    kellyerace
  • May 12, 2007

    Let us know if you have specific questions as you plan your move!

    mereditz
  • May 12, 2007

    I am so glad that I found this site. My husband is considering a job offer. I have never lived any where but in Florida I am excited but also a little nervous.

    mbwilliams
  • May 10, 2007

    I am so glad to have come across this site. My family and I are moing back to Okinawa. My husband and I met on Kinser while I was on Active Duty. Now I get to go back as a dependent with our two little girls.
    My husband asked me to consider leaving all our furniture behind. After reading your all of your wonderful input, I am taking the items I can’t live w/ our our beds, living room set, TVs, and I just don’t know what yet.
    Again, I am so glad to have found this site. I have so many questions and concerns about going back to Oki.

    April
  • May 8, 2007

    Off Base Houses run the gambit from small Japanese style to large 2000 sq ft, American Style homes with large yards. Tokozato housing is always building large American style homes with American outlets.

    Some items to bring in your “fast” shipment:
    1. Tools: Hanging things up, fixing minor things, etc.
    2. Cleaning Products.
    3. T.V.
    4. Sheets, Pillows, Towels
    5. Pots, Pans, Utensils
    6. Folding Chairs (Unless you can sneak on your couch)
    7. Stuff for the kids; toys, cribs, etc.
    8. Fishing Poles (But that’s just me.)

    These are the items you may have to live with for 60-90 days before your “slow” shipment arrives.

    Snuffleupagus
    • March 21, 2012

      This is a great list! It’s a question that’s been bugging me…so thank you for actually “listing” it. You listed cleaning products…does that mean broom, mop, sponges only or were you able to take actual cleaning supplies (windex and other cleaner?) I was under the assumption that no liquids could be included.

      Shannon
  • May 2, 2007

    Hi Jennifer,

    I live near Camp Foster and spend most of my time in the area around here, Lester, and Kadena. Most of the off-base housing that I’ve seen are apartment buildings or attached homes. There are some stand alone homes in the Kadena area by the seawall that have small front yards. Other than that I haven’t seen any homes with yards with the exception of one friend who has a small yard in the back. The place that I have actually has a rooftop deck that we put a play structure out on but it turns out that I’m rarely up there since the parks and playgrounds are so great out here.

    Have you checked the post on whether or not to live on or off-base? There are several links to housing agencies which have photos of some of the off-base housing available.

    Hope this helps.
    Julia

    Julia
  • April 30, 2007

    What is off-base housing like? I’m assuming we’ll have to live there for the first year or so. (we’re arriving mid-July) We have 2 small kids and 2 big dogs. Do they have yards? Room for the outdoor kids playhouse/sandbox/slides? And any additional tips on what to pack in the fast vs slow shipment is appreciated.
    Thanks!

    Jennifer
  • April 24, 2007

    Hi Yolanda,
    I have had no problem with my leather jacket in my home. Humidity will cause it to mold, so in the summertime, I would just keep your leather jackets in a room where the dehumidifier or air conditioner will be used often. The BX/PX’s here on Okinawa also have nifty items that will “soak” up moisture from the air, thus reducing the likelihood of mold forming. Hope this helps! Lan

    Lan
  • April 24, 2007

    Hi, i have a question. We keep hearing about how not to bring our leather jackets but we are coming from Misawa Japan and we can’t just leave our stuff here. Do you know if there is anyway to find out what the actual damage will be to our leather jackets or how we can store them. i know it’s not cold and we don’t need them but we will be bringing some winter jackets since we’ll be going to the states during the winter. I suggested to my husband we should just sell them but he really likes his, so I don’t know. Could you help me with any information you might have on this. Thanks :o)

    Yolanda
  • April 9, 2007

    Wow! What a great discussion topic! Just adding my 2 cents:

    We were warned about the humidity levels here damaging photo’s, furniture, clothes, etc., so we didn’t bring anything that wasn’t going to stay once our tour was up. But once we realized how westernized housing units are in terms of airconditioning and dehumidifiers, I regretted not bringing any beloved photos. As a result, I ended up having my friend ship me a big box of framed pics that we left behind and that put us back at least $100 bucks for shipping. So yes, humidity can cause damage (sorry to hear about Julia’s leather jacket!), but we haven’t had any problems at all in our home.

    Another mistake we made was not packing our television in the short-term (is that the right term?) shipment, so we had to wait a long 3 months before our long-term shipment came to watch programs on our regular television. That was difficult w/2 small children!

    And once you arrive, be sure to have budgeted some moolah for moving-in expenses as you’ll discover the wonderful DIY and 100 Yen stores here and will buy loads of storage shelves and baskets and gadgets that only the Japanese can think of (i.e. double-stacked dish drainers, drain liners, trashcan organizers, etc.).

    Lan
  • April 7, 2007

    This makes me think of the George Carlin bit about a persons stuff. How you have important stuff and when you go on vacation you pack your suitcase with really important stuff. Then you pack for a day trip while on vacation and pack a hand bag with the really really important stuff. Well, the bit went something like that anyway.

    I agree with Mere that we probably left too many needed things (shelves, furniture, etc,) behind, and brought too many things that we would never find the time to use (Apparently I planned to play somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 different old video game in my three years.)

    Weight and space being the major factors, I would bring things that dont take much of either without worrying. I would also say that living on or off base is a question that needs answered while packing. I think MEre and I had a bit of an illusion that we would live on base (and on any given day one or both of us still does) and we didnt antipate how much space our queen size bed would eat up.

    Don’t don’t don’t bring irreplaceable stuff. You can live without it for three years and Julia was right on when she left behind those items.

    Of course the stuff you forget just opens opportunitty to shop your face off! Maybe its best to ‘forget’ a few things that you wanted to replace anyway. 🙂

    Meredith's Joe
  • April 7, 2007

    We brought our couch and chairs – I am glad we did – we had no plans for the couch to make the trip back. We also brought our king sized bed – VERY glad we did – we live on base – it takes up most of the room but… a good nights sleep is worth it. The rest of the furniture is fine – what I would advise is SHOP TIL YOU DROP if you have kids. My kids were under 2 when we came and I bought all the summer stuff I could when it went on clearance in the fall before we came – I brought TUBS of clothes for them. I am glad I did.

    Jen
  • April 7, 2007

    Thanks so much everyone for all the responses. That is definitely helpful. I am so excited and can’t wait to get on the island again:)

    Now I just have to decide on all the little household stuff that will go or will be left behind.

    Have a wonderful Holiday Weekend everyone!!

    Mdavis
  • April 6, 2007

    Mdavis,

    So glad you reached out to us. Let us know if there’s more your struggling with that we might be able to throw out to the community here!

    We brought our queen sized bed and while it takes up most of our room, I don’t regret it. I agree on the extra shelving for storage. We ended up buying three shelving units to store our kitchen and entertainment stuff because we hadn’t brought anything. However, not sure what would have fit since we are pretty narrow in our Japanse house.

    I’d also agree with bringing the outdoor playset for your girls. Why not? Not heavy.
    They’ll use it and if not someone here will definitely buy it.

    OUr shipment took less than three months to arrive. We bought futons and survived on lots of empty space for a good while.

    mereditz
  • April 6, 2007

    Glad to hear that you like the site! Its nice to know someone is benefitting from all the info. I brought my king size bed which I am greatful for because gov furniture only offers full size ones. Other then bed and comfy sofa however, I’m glad we did government furniture for the rest. The reason being that it allowed us to pick up some nice furntiure pieces from the gift shop, etc here. Everyone is always afraid of being over the weight limit when they go home so I’d rather have furniture I can’t find other places to bring back.
    They do have plastic playhouses here but the new ones I think are pricey. You can get a used one however for a fairly decent price from someone PCSing out.(For used stuff check out the flea market article on this blog) On base, all electricity is american but you will need transformers for major appliances off base. I am also glad that we brought our computer, dvd player, gamestations,and dvds. These are hard to get in Japan as they use region 2 dvd players as opposed to region 1 and the selection at the BX is expensive and lousy.
    In terms of shipping time for us it was 30 days or so for the little shipment and 90 days? for the big one. In the little shipment I would include computer and TV.

    downtownjuliebrown
  • April 5, 2007

    I would bring your bed and sofa. These are things you will be using everyday and unless you get lucky, you will get used stuff which I think is a bit suboptimal. Also, Mdavis, I recommend bringing the play set especially if it is plastic and light. Once you go back, your kids may outgrow it. Also selling it here is pretty easy as most people on base will have a yard. Also DO NOT bring any leather coats, they will mold up! Leave the dining room set as the one they give you is adequate. I would leave the cabinets b/c I think most American style places have alot of cabinets. Also the household goods really depends on when you sent it. We shipped it I think in June and when I got here in Sept it was waiting for me. Of course the summer is busier so expect more of a wait.

    Chun
  • April 5, 2007

    Hello all:)

    I have not posted anything on this website, but I have been reading here for quite some time. I love coming here and reading what yet lies in store for us. We have orders to Okinawa sometine later this year, and I am thrilled. We were there about 7 years ago (I went along with my husband unaccompanied), and now, 2 kids later, we are ready to go back again! This is the exact topic I am having some trouble with. We too were told to leave all furniture behind. We have also been told by some people to take your bed and couch if you are attached to them. Well, I am attached to everything and the thought of taking as little as possible bugs me to say the least. I just know as soon as I unpack all my stuff I will need the one thing I left behind. So, I have decided on a few things. First off, I want my bed!! It’s a queen. I really don’t want to give that up if possible. I have also decided on bringing a few wooden cabinets, nothing fancy or irreplaceable. I remember storage closets and cabinets being a big problem off base(we are aiming at off base housing if possible), and maybe this would help with storage.

    I am also at odds as to whether or not to bring my daughters’ outdoor playhouse, one of those plastic ones. It was a Christmas gift for them and I really don’t want to leave it behind because it just seems like a waste. They will have outgrown it by the time we are back stateside. We going to do our best to find a place with a small yard if possible. I figure at worst we can bring it and sell it if we end up not having room.

    So anyways, I was just wondering on what furniture you guys would have taken if you knew then what you know now. Also, what time frame is expected in receiving your household goods?

    Thanks for all the information. This is a great site!

    Mdavis
  • April 4, 2007

    We pretty much brought everything as well except for some really sentimental stuff like my wedding gown and wedding album…things that I considered irreplaceable. I think we are the anomaly though as we probably didn’t own as much stuff as other people since we were coming from an 1100 sq foot space. The place we are renting now is about 1300-1400 sq feet and that was an upgrade for us but I know friends who had to store things as that is a huge downgrade for them.
    We ended up going to Sapporo for the Snow Festival last February so we were really happy that we brought our winter gear. For the most part the winters here are more like Fall weather with the temperatures going down to the upper 40s or low 50s. That only lasts about 2 or 3 months. I DID pack my leather jacket which I used last winter but just discovered molding in my closet. YUCK! Luckily it’s getting old so it’s not bugging me that much.
    We had no issues with our shipment and IF there was any damage it must have been minimal since I can’t remember.

    Julia
  • April 4, 2007

    Well, we brought almost EVERYTHING, but like Kelly G. we aren’t military so I think we aren’t as limited on weight of crates. We have most of our furniture but were burned byt the fact that we had a MISSING CRATE that was never found. We were reimbursed for the entire cost of the contents and have replaced just about everything but it was a huge pain in the ARRRSS and took us a while to do it.
    Before our next move in ’09 we need to purge our closets and a huge cabinet in the living room.
    We did bring winter coats and to make sure that decision wasn’t in vain we are planning on going to Austrailia summer ’08 where it will be winter.

    Lady K