Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO

Sorry about the title. I had to. Sue asked what to bring for the kitchen. I couldn’t pass it up. You understand.

In my experience off-base, less is better since space is such an issue. We have four of everything except mugs because Joe broke one of those this morning. And when things break around here, I inwardly cheer because that means prime real estate has just been made available. The waiting list for that mug’s sink-front cupboard property is long. I’m partial to bowl of sugar but Joe cast his vote for the ramekins which, although breakable AND within reach of the roaming toddler hands, are not in daily use. Seriously. When was the last time you used a ramekin? I’d duke it out with him but the boys are napping which means we huddle in our private corners to catch a breath and a sip of sanity.

Wait. This isn’t about me?

Fair enough. Talk to Sue.

My family and I will be moving to your island next February, however in the interim we will be nomads and our house is being packed in two weeks.ย  I hope that I have a good grasp on what I should bring from the other rooms in my house thanks to this website, LOVE IT.ย  The kitchen I am lacking though.ย  I have heard everything from the military supplying your utensils and mixers to just go with plastic wear.ย  So, what should I bring from my kitchen and/or what is available from the bases?


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64 Comments
  • March 7, 2017

    Wonderful, what a webpage it is! This webpage gives helpful
    information tto us, keep it up.

    Reply
  • May 29, 2016

    What did you bring that you regret? What do u wish u would have brought?

    Becky
    Reply
    • May 30, 2016

      We live off base and have a good size house but overall the rooms are a bit smaller than our house in the US. Some people, depending on their housing situation, needed to sell some of their furniture after they arrived. There’s a terrific resource called Okinawa Bookoo which is an online “yard sale” by primarily military members for everything you can imagine — whether you want to buy or sell. The website address is http://okinawa.bookoo.com/. We bought our car, a casual dining table set, some transformers, US and Japanese TV sets, and more via Bookoo. So, it’s a great resource and you can snag some great deals.

      With Bookoo, the commissaries, exchanges, local supermarkets, and other stores (Okinawa Hai articles helped us immensely with local shopping — Makeman, Sun and Sea, Nitori, etc.), I don’t feel I’m missing out on much of anything here. If there is something I want that I can’t find locally, I order from Amazon — not too different from what I do in the US!

      SM
      Reply
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  • August 20, 2010

    @Sarah-

    The only specifics I can think of right now are Children’s tylenol/motrin at the BX and commissary. They are (as far as I know) still available by prescription at the pharmacies, but there are none on the shelves at the BX/Commissary due to the recalls.

    I believe that it can be hard to find quality “ethnic” food ingredients (ie, for Mexican food, etc) but I don’t know for sure-as I don’t really shop for these things anyways.

    Overall, choices can be limited-we pretty much have whatever most Exchanges/Commissaries have stateside-the stuff that is lacking is just more noticeable, since you can’t just run to Target/Walmart/local grocery store instead to purchase your item.

    N
    Reply
  • August 19, 2010

    I’ve heard several people reference foods, medicines and other items that are difficult to find on the island. Can someone provide me with a list of common items that are difficult to acquire that we might want to bring with us?

    Thanks!

    Sarah
    Reply
  • August 12, 2010

    Hello,

    Just found out I am going to Japan ( first overseas trip)to work DOD, Is there a site to look at local Housing in Iwakuni Japan? We live in a large home(4 bedrooms) and really have no clue what to bring. We have to live off base. I have been reading back sites for a week,but not really getting what we need as a guide. Thanks for all your help

    Terri
    Reply
  • December 13, 2009

    We brought both our dogs! It was a lot of paperwork and stuff but so worth it. Lots of animals here. You need to start working on it now! Also, if you think you might have a yard, bring your fencing with you, it is very difficult to find and very expensive off base.

    kim
    Reply
  • December 12, 2009

    Thank you Michelle… one more question for now. We have a dog shes a boxer and we are trying to decided to take her or fine her a home here before we leave. How hard is it to take animals??? And is it harder to live on base with them?

    Niki
    Reply
  • December 11, 2009

    Niki – Washers and dryers are provided. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to the wait time on Kadena. I know it depends on your rank/family size as to what size place you rate.

    As an FYI to everyone – If you work on Courtney, you’re getting put in housing on Foster. If you work on Hansen or Schwab, you’ll get put in housing on Courtney (or in one case, Kadena). Supposedly, they’ve set aside housing on Courtney for those working up North. I really think that is going to start playing with the time it takes everyone to get into housing.

    Michelle
    Reply
  • December 11, 2009

    Well we just found out we will be heading to Kadena in May, currently we live off base and own our house so we have tons of stuff. Now Im readding all things on what to bring for sure but Im wondering about the washer and dryer I know on our base here in Montana you have to get your own, but being overseas do they supply them for you????
    Also how long does it usually take to get in to base housing??? Here it like 6months???

    Niki
    Reply
  • October 5, 2009

    Kelli – They do not provide rockers or cribs. You’ll need (and want!) to bring your own. I wish I could help with the rest of your questions but someone on here will be able to help!

    Michelle
    Reply
  • October 4, 2009

    Just wanted to let you all know that one of my concerns before moving to Okinawa was if there was a coin operated laundry that was big enough to was a King size comforter. I have yet to find one but you can take it to the dry cleaners inside the Kanehide(green sign with two orange birds) grocery store…it only costs about 1600 yen.

    Tina Moody
    Reply
  • July 19, 2009

    I think I did need to know if they provide cribs and rockers or do I need to ship my own…alot of the pics were kinda vague as to what is govt. issued and what was brought/bought.

    Another thing that I assumed but am finding is wrong is housing on Camp Schwab which is where my husband will be starting mid Jan 2010. Is there? If not, what Camp is closest? We will be in a 4 brm because I have 4 kids so an idea on where they might stick us and how long the wait is?

    Is it also true still that all the housing have concrete walls? Makes me feel safe but not so thrilled with the decorating challenge.

    Kelli
    Reply
  • July 17, 2009

    I’ll second what Amanda said… it’s pretty much the same in McT’s apartment style housing. The townhouses here have the same power, not as much kitchen storage but tons throughout the rest of the house to make up for it.

    Michelle
    Reply
  • July 17, 2009

    Speaking for the Kinser Towers, the electric outlets and power are just like in the states. We have a LOT of cabinet space in the kitchen and throughout the rest of the apartment. Make sure to bring a step stool if you intend to use them to the fullest, however, because they are quite high and deep.

    Amanda
    Reply
  • July 17, 2009

    The latest on moving to Okinawa is we must live on base. SO… that being said how do the electrical appliances work on base. Does anyone have any insight?
    HOw much room are in the cabinets?

    Shelly Coggin
    Reply
  • May 12, 2009

    Thank you SO much for this website! We got short notice orders to Kadena on Friday. We are due to arrive Mid to end of Sept. My husband will be at the base weather station on Kadena. This is our frist overseas PCS and we have 2 sons, 12yo and 15yo and we know no one over there so hopefully we will get a good sponser but this site as made me understand to bring my king sized bed and microwave!

    Cathy
    Reply
  • April 6, 2009

    If you use high wattage appliances offbase, you need a transformer. We have one that we use for all of our TV and entertainment equipment and one we use for our office equipment. Sometimes you won’t notice a difference in performance but if the power plug for the item indicates it needs at least 110V, then it will wear your equipment out quicker if you don’t use a transformer and some things will not work. I have lived off base for 6 years and have always used transformers in those two areas listed above. We have all Japanese appliances in the kitchen so I don’t use one there but we used to have an American toaster and it would toast really slow if we didn’t use a small transformer for it as well.

    You can find transformers in the Japan Update and on Okinawa Yard Sales all the time so don’t worry about getting any until you get here.

    Reply
  • April 6, 2009

    @Paul-voltage on base is exactly like what you get in the US. No need for anything special at all.

    off-base, the voltage is actually less than 110. We live off base and don’t run into any problems-we don’t have any transformers at all. (I believe it’s 100 volts). I have heard that things that utilize fans (TV, computer) should have transformers, but we’ve not noticed any difference in performance. In any case, it’s not like in Europe where your appliances will blow without a transformer!

    Outlets (off-base)are the bascially the same as the USA, except, no third prong. Our apt is pretty westernized, so we have three prong outlets in the kitchen and bathroom. Everywhere else is a two prong, but it’s polarized, so no problems there. You can buy powerstrips off base that will accept three prongs-and will plug into a two-prong. This is what we use for our TV, computer, etc.

    Nicole
    Reply
  • April 6, 2009

    I did not see any comments about voltage. Whats the voltage on on-post housing. Is it 110 or 220. Whats do the plugs for electronics look like. Do we need to purchase adapters.

    allen
    Reply
  • March 25, 2009

    Hey Ash! Erik will be in 1-1 ADA Charlie…does that make sense? LOL! We don’t know if it breaks down any more then that but that’s what his sponser, SGT Herring, told him. Does that name sound familiar? Anyway, I guess I really don’t have any questions per say about Kadena. Before when we very first found out about going, I was climbing the walls, bursting with questions but since calming down, I have realized that I can’t really freak out about anything till we get there.
    I do know that we are on the housing list already even though we aren’t there yet. And when the housing dept emailed us to let us know that we are on the list, they said that there isn’t a waiting time. So hopefully, when Erik gets there, they will offer a couple choices and he can move in before we get there. Of course, that’s in my world…no telling what’s going to happen in the Army world. LOL!
    I guess I’m just more looking for someone who will be a friend for when we finally get over there. I’m all about having my son have friends over to stay the night and playing in the yard and having game nights over at the house and BBQ-ing during the summer months with some friends.
    I have yet to actually join the FRG. I don’t belong to it here in GA, so I’m looking forward to becoming part of it there. I think this is getting really long, so I will stop now and just say, I hope to talk to you guys soon…email me if you want at [email protected] Thanks! Lizz

    Lizz
    Reply
  • March 25, 2009

    Hi Lizz,

    My husband is also 1-1 ADA. As far as our battery goes, anyone can come to the FRG meetings. If you want a leadership position, you can find out who your FRG leader is and talk to her about how to become an FRG leader. Do you know which unit your husband will be in? We live on base on Kadena. It’s good for my husband because it only takes him a couple minutes to get to work. We have a single unit house and it has plenty of storage for things and a nice yard for our puppies to play in. If there’s anything you’d like to know about the battalion or Kadena or anything else, just let me know.

    ash
    Reply
  • March 25, 2009

    Hey everyone! My husband will be arriving at Kedena on the 9th of April and the kids and I will soon follow him as soon as our no fee passports comes in.
    We just got our unaccompanied baggage packed today and if only I had read that part about making sure to pack our microwave in our express baggage…oops…I guess I’ll just wait for it to arrive in the regular shipping.
    My husband is also in the Army. He will be joining 1-1 ADA…any wives in here from that battery? I do know that we do have a sponser who was nice enough to call us last Sunday and gave us a little bit of a heads up.
    I am planning on bringing all of my scrapbooking supplies, the Cricut, storage cubes, paper, printer, the whole get up…I hope we have enough room on base housing for it. I will make the room…lol!
    If anyone wants to offer any information about Kedena, it would be appreciated! I would like to know how I can join the FRG…can I do that? C y’all soon Lizz

    Elizabeth
    Reply
  • March 24, 2009

    Amanda- We shipped all of our spices. I also purchased a few hard to find but very important ingredients for our favorite recipes. I know the moving guys thought I was crazy sending these canned goods but I am grateful. We have yet to find a good selection of Mexican Food ingredients. Hope this helps.

    Kristine
    Reply
  • March 24, 2009

    Hey Melissa, check your orders and see if he is coming the 58th Sig Bn.
    That is ours and I have some info for you.
    You guys are going to love it here.

    Reply
  • March 24, 2009

    Does anyone know where I can get an official list of what is allowed in each shipment? My husband keeps mentioning size and weight restrictions but it would be helpful to have that information in front of me as I sort everything into their respective piles. We move to Okinawa at the end of April and our packing dates are coming up fast. Also can any foodstuffs be shipped or do we have to buy everything again once we get there?

    Amanda
    Reply
  • March 19, 2009

    Melissa,

    we have orders for December to Torii. My husband is Army also and we’ll be coming from Ft. Hood, Texas.

    Petra
    Reply
  • February 23, 2009

    You’re welcome. Yeah, it only takes about 15 mins. to get to Torii from Kadena.

    Ash
    Reply
  • February 23, 2009

    Thanks Ash! I looked at a map, Kadena doesn’t seem too far away from Torii. My husband is SATCOM, so I believe that’s why he’ll be working on Torii. I’m glad to hear there wasn’t a wait for housing. I’m sure time of year matters, but I really hope we get that lucky!

    Melissa
    Reply
  • February 13, 2009

    Melissa,

    Hi, my husband is Army too, but he works on Kadena instead of Torii. There’s no accompanied housing on Torii (just bachelor’s quarters). A lot of the people we know who are Army on Torii either live off base (in apartments/houses nearby) or on Kadena Air Base. There are a couple other close bases, too, that people are stationed on. I live on base on Kadena in a single unit house, and our kitchen is pretty decent-sized with a full sized American oven. The elementary and Middle Schools depend on what base you live on or near, but on Kadena by where I live there’s Kadena Elementary and Ryukyu Middle School. There’s another elementary school on base here, another middle school and a high school, too. I don’t have kids yet, so I don’t know too much about the schools. It’s really convenient to live on base, and when we got here in May, there wasn’t any wait for housing.

    ash
    Reply
  • February 13, 2009

    My husband and I just recieved orders to Okinawa Japan. We will be arrivingin April. He is in the Marine Corps and an E-6. We will be with 1st MAW. I believe it is on Futenma. What is the best option ON Base or OFF base? We have two children. I have HUGE furniture and also want to know if we should scale down. What is the off base rate for housing as an E-6?

    Candace
    Reply
  • February 9, 2009

    Hello! I’ve been reading so much and I hope I’m picking the right place to ask this question ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s only February, and we’ll be PCSing to Okinawa in November, but I just want to be able to know all that I can! My husband is Army, E6, and will be working in Torii Station. Do they have housing there? Or would we live somewhere else? We have 4 kids and would just like to know what elementary and middle schools we would be using.

    We do want to live on post, and I was wondering also about the kitchen space. I NEED a full size American oven ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for all of the wonderful info!

    Melissa
    Reply
  • December 9, 2008

    My hubby and I are PCSing in March…We have no kids and no dogs. He is an E-6 and is going to be with 7th comm, which I think is on Hansen…Its the base with no housing on it, and I know its up north….Do any of you know which housing you think we will be getting if we live on-base, which I am pretty sure we are planning on doing?

    Debbie
    Reply
  • September 29, 2008

    They ship to your new duty stationed the items from your house as well as the items in storage. We have had items in storage since Hawaii … then moved to VA (items still in storage from Hawaii) … then moved to Okinawa (items still in storage in Hawaii) … to our next duty station (Cali, where they will ship our stuff from Oki & Hawaii). Let’s see if we’ll remember all that we had since way back in Hawaii!! (smile)

    Diana M.
    Reply
  • September 29, 2008

    Thanks. I thought that I had read that the AF was no longer going to store any house hold goods and that they wanted to ship everything. This supposedly is going to save them money on storage costs.
    Is this correct info?
    How will you get your stored items at your next assignment if they are still located at your last assignment?
    I’m a little confused! (sorry!)

    sheena
    Reply
  • September 20, 2008

    Sheena, when we pcs’d to Okinawa, we didn’t bring everything including the kitchen sink,, we brought what we felt we needed to make this tour as comfortable for as and our sons as we could, tried to keep in mind what would make us feel at home while being away from our home .. The MC stored 1 vehicle and all the stuff that we didn’t bring ,back in the states for 3 yrs. I would recommend that you not bring stuff you don’t think you will need. Although there are some things ( tools) I wish we would have shipped over here, If we need them we buy them, and I am planning on having a huge garage sale when I get back home to NC!!!

    crystal
    Reply
  • September 20, 2008

    Thanks for the washing machine info. Here’s another PCS question for ya- We will need a small storage unit. We don’t mind driving off base to it and we don’t mind paying for it. Are we allowed to tow a trailer in Okinawa? Oh wait- we can’t bring our jeep. hmmm. Do you ever see trucks on the lemon lot? And is there is a storage facility? What do you do with the stuff that doesn’t fit in your house?
    thanks again.

    Sheena
    Reply
  • September 17, 2008

    Re: Sheena,

    You can bring your washer/dryer, but I don’t recommend it. Housing will provide one for you, and they won’t remove it, so you’ll have to find a place to store it in your house. If you live off base, I still don’t recommend it-laundry rooms tend to either be small, or in the bathroom-no room for a large washer/dryer set. It sucks…having to go back to a basic set with an agitator, but honestly, it’s the better choice.

    Nicole
    Reply
  • September 16, 2008

    We just recently purchased new the washer/dryer combo of my dreams. Super sized, front loading, 30 settings, perfect for cloth diapers… Can I bring my washer/dryer to Okinawa? We are planning on living in base housing on Kadena. My husband is an E-6 and we have 3 kids. Anybody know? Thanks!

    Sheena
    Reply
  • February 4, 2008

    Courtney will give you both Courtney and McT and depending on the base you work on Camp Shields (I know a couple people working on Hansen have gotten Shields, but I hear they are trying to keep them on Courtney/McT because it is a shorter drive!)

    Bambi Caldwell
    Reply
  • February 4, 2008

    Hi there, So we have pets. We sent our housing application tot he COurtney housing office will they show us Mct listing also or do we have to go to another housing office?

    Lisa
    Reply
  • January 29, 2008

    Oh ya, there is a huge pantry! Its bigger than our fridge and the same height!

    Bambi Caldwell
    Reply
  • January 29, 2008

    McT multi-plex’s have plenty of space for that stuff!! The closet in the Master bedroom is nice and there is also a closet under the stairs that if you needed to put shoes in you can! We have them in boxes with pictures on it so we know which shoe it is and they sit on our top shelf in the walk in closet (what else is those shelves for? Lan is putting my Mct Multi-plex up sometime in the month and you will see how huge the kitchen is!! Plenty of cabinets and I have a ton of kitchen supplies because I bake (and I mean bake! We try and do everything in our house home made!! Especially since you don’t know how long things have been on the shelf and I really enjoy it! Its a good stress relief for me!)! We do have a pot rack because we like them hanging so they don’t get scratched, but could easily fit them in cupboards! Hope it helps! The towers don’t have as many cupboards as McT, but there is still plenty of them!

    Bambi Caldwell
    Reply
  • January 28, 2008

    Lisa,
    I’m working on getting more housing info. on North Island at Courtney and McT., but can tell you that the one place that I’ve seen in the Towers apartments had a huge kitchen with a pantry, so bring your pots and pans definitely. Didn’t get a look at the closets, though, sorry. Hopefully, someone with more experience with those bases up North can help out…

    Lan
    Reply
  • January 6, 2008

    I’m clueless about Courtney or McT, so I’ll let someone else jump in here. In my house, I have a walk-in closet that’s huge — space for MANY shoes — but again, that’s where I am.

    Joelle
    Reply
  • January 6, 2008

    Joelle, do you think the homes on Courtney and McT are about the same as your kitchen? And what should I bring pots/pans flatware etc? What about the closet sizes…..can all my shoes and clothes come with me ….sorry I am a shoe nut and have more than I care to say. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lisa
    Reply
  • January 6, 2008

    Lisa, we’re in new multi-plex housing on Kadena and I have several cabinet shelves in my kitchen totally empty!! Plenty of space for everything — BUT the new multi-plexes have pretty great sized kitchens w/ 2 pantries as well as regular cabinets. We had to buy a microwave — so if you’ve got one…

    Joelle
    Reply
  • January 6, 2008

    Sorry I wasn’t really following what you think should be brought as far as kitchen stuff if we want to be on base housing. How much cabinet space is there in housing and what items should we bring? Also what other furniture should we bring? I have pets no children.

    Lisa
    Reply
  • September 21, 2007

    Does this Tokusato housing have all priced american sized housing. My cap would be 200,000 Y, possible for USA type housing or not?

    Pamelala
    Reply
  • September 20, 2007

    I live off base in an American style house. FMO provided our refridgerator and stove/oven. Otherwise, I brought all the basics, pots, pans, glassware, silverware, bakeware etc. As well as coffee pot, toaster, blender, crock pot. We did buy a smaller microwave at the BX when we arrived. I have not had any space or electrical issues, our kitchen is gallery style and has a built in pantry with adjustable shelves at one end that is great for extra storage or odd sized items. I second the recommendation for TOKUSATO HOUSING AGENCY, our house is brand new and very large. Good luck!

    Farrah
    Reply
  • September 19, 2007

    If you are moving overseas, they are required to crate your stuff at the house, and you have to sign the security seals and watch them attach them….if they tell you different, it is not true. This is the second time we have lived here, both times off base in Japanese style houses (which we prefer) and we haven’t had any problems. Most of our neighbors are Japanese. We don’t have the American style oven (which is fine) but the owner provided this awesome microwave/oven that we use. I can fit 8 by 8 pans in it so we left all the bigger bakeware in storage along with our powersucking microwave (which we didn’t use at all the first time we were here). We have a power converter on the entertainment stuff in the living room and then on the computer stuff in the office. Last time, when I had more American appliances with me, I used a little 500 watt one in the kitchen for toaster and such but this time I am not doing much with American appliances except for my bread cooker.

    Reply
  • September 19, 2007

    Sue,

    Sorry about your bad move. However, the movers are required to crate and seal your stuff at your house. Insist on it or call the military move help line.

    chunkychun
    Reply
  • September 19, 2007

    Courtney,
    We are going to NC for the interm living in a furnished apt while my hubbie is supposed to be TAD. Since he is going to be in the states we decided to move as a family and store/pack our stuff now. I would suggest that you have the movers crate your stuff at your home. My friends had a couple of things stolen when they crated at the warehouse. Gotta love military movers.

    Sue
    Reply
  • September 18, 2007

    I highly recommend looking into TOKUSATO HOUSING AGENCY. Ask for Mako, the manager when you go. We were lucky enough to get one of their huge, spacious, beautiful 1700 sq ft houses. A few people who work in the same office as my hubby live in their houses too. They are designed for the American with big furniture, kids and pets. We don’t have kids but we do have a dog who loves the stairs and the very large front, fenced in yard. We brought pretty much everything with us and have purchased additional furniture items since moving here and have no trouble fitting it all in. The house was one of the big reasons for wanting our two year extension to stay on Island.
    Good luck!!

    Reply
  • September 17, 2007

    I was just thinking of these things today, the pots and pans! I think I def. want to bring the blender so I can make my concoctions! Plus, I was wondering about bar stools, should they stay or go (to storage)? We will be off base, thanks to the dog and kinser towers not going together. I think the biggest ‘fear’ is just not knowing where you are going to be living, having no mental visual image to get into…we are also coming in Jan and I have heard nothing about when our stuff will be picked up! :o)

    Pamelala
    Reply
  • September 17, 2007

    Sue I was wondering why they are packing up your house so soo, if you are not leaving for Okinawa unti February? My family is moving to the island in January, and we haven’t been told yet when our stuff is being packed. From other families around here (29 Palms, CA) I assume it could be the week prior to moving. I was just curious. I want to be prepared for anything ๐Ÿ™‚

    Courtney Merkel
    Reply
  • September 16, 2007

    Could be, Kimberly – and I’m sure that everyone has different experiences. (I wouldn’t say contrary – I’m sure there are hundreds of stories that contradict here. That’s why this site is so great.)

    My apartment is rather new (built in 2002), so that might mean something. My hubby tells me that high-wattage appliances (microwave, iron, blender, etc.) are where you might notice the difference – but consumer electronics (computers, tvs) should experience no difference. The power converter should help with those high-wattage items, maybe you want to plug your stuff into that? Might be worth buying another converter to use for those items. In our kitchen I used the converter they gave us to plug in a power strip so I have a place to plug in the microwave and cappucino machine permanently, and as needed I plug in the rice cooker, kitchen aid and coffee grinder. (not sure I’d blow-dry in the kitchen, but I barely use that blow dryer due to the heat & humidity and the fact that I have curly hair and what on earth is the point? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It could be the housing agency that shows more Japanese properties, for sure – could also be the neighborhoods- I know I live among many Americans (the school bus stop at the end of our street fills the entire school bus!), so most of us have the same types of appliances and amenities. I used Joy Housing and really liked them (they just put up a fancy website at http://joy-housing.com).

    I think the funny little thing that annoyed me most was that the light switches are on the walls outside the bathrooms. In general the light switches are not in intuitive places – again, I digress….

    Reply
  • September 16, 2007

    Futenma (that’s the spelling, hehe) is very close to beach area, so you’ll find housing close to there if that’s what you wish. In the first few days here you’ll start getting a better lay of the land, and when you tell the housing people where your hubby is stationed, you can also tell them what areas he’s willing to commute from. Take your time when you come here, have the housing girls pick you up, and look at maps while they drive you around. Above all, don’t settle – look at as many places as you need to in order to find one you want to live in for a while – I’m so happy we did.

    Generator – hm. If it’s really big and heavy, I’d say don’t bother – no clue where you’d keep it. More important to have a battery operated radio, a non-electric phone (non-cordless), and chargeable laptop or DVD player. Out in town they usually restore power very quickly. Man-Yi was a category 4 and we were only out power for 6 hours – some didn’t lose power at all. You’d want the generator for the A/C but they’re different here, I’m not sure the generator would work – anyone else?

    Reply
  • September 16, 2007

    Let me just throw in 2 cents for if you live on base… At our last posting we were off base on this cool dairy farm in England — loved it, but had a minuscule kitchen!! Two people in the space would bump each other constantly. So, when I saw the new housing on base with the big kitchens (I know the older housing isn’t as great) I was SOLD! I have at least 2 cupboards that after 4 months here are STILL empty. So, I have space for pretty much everything I would have brought.

    The other thing I will mention is that if there is something you love (for me it is my Irish crystal wine glasses) — something that makes you feel “at home” you should bring it and just make space for it whether on/off base.

    Joelle
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  • September 16, 2007

    Thank you ladies for your advice. We are planning on living off base, I think, it might change in a day or two again. I have two more questions to throw into the mix:

    Should I bring a generator? We have one for hurricane season, so it wouldn’t be a huge expense.

    The hubbie will be at Futema(sp) and I can’t tell what off base housing communities are around there, or should we just scrap it and live by the beach?

    Sue
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  • September 16, 2007

    Not to be contrary, but let’s call it clarifying… ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t had problems with most of my electrical things here, but the stick blender I have doesn’t really spin all that fast when plugged into this electricity. My hair dryer is sort of sad too, and doesn’t dry my hair with quite the gusto that it did when plugged in back in the States. But those are minor inconveniences. I just haven’t tried a lot of them out yet so I’m fully expecting some sort of surprise at some point!

    And they showed us a lot of (what I am calling) Japanese houses. We saw more of these than American style. Meaning most places we looked at would have a tatami room, the little fish grill thing instead of an oven, different power requirements, and bathrooms with the separate bathtubs, showers and toilets. Do you think it depends on which housing agency you go with, what they are more likely to show you?

    Kimberly
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  • September 15, 2007

    (I appreciate the kitchen sink title, Mere)

    Sue, you didn’t mention if your intention is to live on or off base. I’ll address off base because that’s what I know. I have to say, I got rid of and am getting rid of things I brought for the kitchen that I didn’t need. (too many mugs, toaster oven, too many wine glasses)

    Counter space is at a premium – and the shelves in our place aren’t high, so I’m having trouble finding spots for taller items like mixing bowls & colanders.

    Housing people don’t usually show you Japanese-style homes, they’re inspected by the US Gov’t and therefore are required to have a certain amount of kitchen storage. So you’ll be ok with the dishes you need. Bring Tupperware, or plan to buy it – it’s HUMID here, and I put everything in baggies or airtight containers.

    The military gives you (if the house doesn’t provide) a fridge, a stove/oven, washer/dryer (mine happens to be in my kitchen) and 1 big power transformer (that’s the word you were looking for, Kimberly). It’s most important for the kitchen stuff like your microwave (btw, BRING THAT in your express shipment!). The power situation otherwise is no biggie. The typhoons that knock out your power are more likely to blow a fuse I think.

    I’m told the gov’t will lend you a dishwasher too, but we just don’t have the room – it was more important to get a kitchen cart with more pantry room for us. I say if you have the room, borrow it – dishwashers use less water and gas heat than washing by hand.) I wash dishes in the sink, and bought a dishpan because the sinks here are HUGE – and we do NOT have a garbage disposal – probably my number one thing I miss.

    If I had to do it again, I’d want to hear this. Bring things you definitely use at least once a week. Microwave, coffee maker, dishes, glasses, flatware, colanders, pot & pan set. If you bake, bring cookie sheets & whatever have you. I found room for a kitchen aid and a rice cooker, but at the expense of counter space. Local stores (Jusco, Makeman, etc.) carry SO many great space-saving devices for small spaces, I went crazy on those and got creative.

    Most importantly, if it’s important to you – request it when you look for housing in town. Tell them you want a dishwasher or a garbage disposal if you must have it. I know people who do, and they’re happy. As for me – well, I wish I had more kitchen space because I love to cook – I agree with Mere- ramikins? No. I’d put plastic bowls in that space! ๐Ÿ™‚

    On another topic – the stores here have such cute bowls and plates and cups – I almost wish I’d stored mine and started from scratch- but that’s just my shopping addiction talking.

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  • September 15, 2007

    Another thing to consider is that off-base, Japanese style houses often don’t have an oven. So if you’re not too attached to your cookie sheets and bakeware, it might be best left in storage. Of course if it’s important to you, then they have the countertop “ovens” or it could be enough of a priority to choose an American style apartment or live on-base.

    I second the space issue on amount of dishes and something else to consider is that you may not have a dishwasher, or in my case, an itty-bitty one that makes my regular dishes look huge and unwieldy in there anyway. So I often wonder if it would be better to replace them with the more petite Japanese style dishes. It’s a balance and is a hard decision to make when you have no idea what your new place will be like.

    For electric appliances, keep in mind the power differences (again, off base, Japanese style houses) so there’s no guarantee they’ll work without a generator thingamajig (what do you call it?). And I think counterspace might be more of a premium than cupboard space so you probably won’t have a lot of room for tons of big appliances sitting out.

    There is a loan locker for kitchen items to get you through from the time you arrive until your shipment gets here. Or vice versa, after you’ve packed up your house but the flight hasn’t left yet. But I think that’s supposed to be temporary and I’m not aware of them providing permanent kitchen supplies. But I could be wrong. I didn’t know they’d give us this lovely couch for the duration of our stay either… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kimberly
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