Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

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!

These questions just came our way on the same day. Any thoughts or, better yet, pictures?

Does anyone know what the base housing for enlisted is like?  Specifically the E-6 to E-7 range?

Is decent off-base housing doable for an E-6 family with two kids and a dog?

Give a hand, won’t you?

99 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,We are PCSing in May/June, and my husband is E-6 in the Marine Corps. We have 3 kids ages 10,5, and 2. The 10 and 5 year olds are boys, and our 2 year old is a girl. On the housing site it looks like we will be offered a 3 bedroom since our younger son is not 6 yet. Is there any way around this? Our oldest son really wants his own room, and our 5 year old will be in school…we really can’t expect him to share a room with his baby sister. My husband will be working on Foster, but I understand that housing is pretty full there. If anyone knows please tell me what kind of house we can get and where. Especially interested in the size and number of rooms. Thank you

  2. Hi Jana! You will qualify for a three bedroom. If you have any questions please feel free to email me [email protected].

    We moved here last fall, but this is our second tour to Okinawa, so I am pretty familiar with the place. My husband is also an AF E6.

  3. Hello,
    we are going to be stationed in Kadena AB in November 2010. My husband is AF E6, we have two girls 2,5 and 1 year old. I was wondering what is the situation with the housing at the moment. What type of house and where we might get? I think that is the biggest thing I am dreading. I do not want 2 bedroom, but when I looked up what we can get, it was 2 bedroom. I was reading here that most of the families with 2 children automatically receive 3 bedroom house, is that correct? I have other questions also, but if someone could tell me at least about this, I would be happy.
    Thanks

  4. Hi Casey,

    My husband is on Camp Schwab also. We live off base and have been here about 1 1/2 years. I can give you lots of information. My email is [email protected]. Also, according to a friend the base housing is full on Camp Courtney (as of last week) and they are requiring many people to live off base.

  5. Hello,

    My husband and i are about to be moving to Oki for 3 years. He will be working out of Camp Schwab. Married Marines are few and far between in his job so i wanted to get in touch with someone that is going through the same thing so i can get some help on what i need to do to move from the states to there. He is a E6 and is picking up E7 in the next year. It is just the 2 of us and we have 2 puppies being sent to us once we get there.

    I refuse to be in an apartment. lol We curently have a 2 story 2 bedroom house on the base we are stationed at and its going to be tough going smaller than what we already have. We dont have alot of things persay but they are big things. One thing i hate about what we ahve now is that we do not have a yard, and with dogs, i really would love to be able to have a dog.

    Anywho, if there is anyone who has a Marine stationed on Camp Schwab that would be able to help it would be great.

  6. I don’t believe there is any rhyme or reason to how they assign base housing most of the time. My husband is an AF E6. We live in a four bedroom multiplex and no one in our area is junior enlisted. We have three kids, but some of our neighbors have four, and some have only two. There are two families up the street who are E5 and E6, and they both live in single units that were previously only for E9’s or field grade. Another E6 who works with my husband is married with no kids in the picture, and they were given a 3 bedroom multi-plex. My friend’s husband is MC O3 and they live in a three bedroom multi-plex, while another friend and her MC O3 husband live in a single unit. Seriously, no good method of assigning housing exists. I thought rank and family size were supposed to be the determining factors, but apparently not. I think it’s more luck of the draw.

    As far as living off base goes, right now they are requiring all incoming families to live on base for a year. If you choose to move off base after the year is over, it’s at your own expense and you must move your own belongings. In addition, it goes without saying that the inspectors are especially picky if they know you’re moving off base when they do your inspection. Many people wind up being charged money, so it’s a choice you really need to think about.

    As far as pets go, I do not think the Japanese are any more or less pet friendly than the military. Some agencies off base do not accept pets, some do. Many require a pet deposit and keep it when you move out to cover the additional cleaning the house will need after having a pet living there. So it really works about the same as it would if you were trying to rent in the states. The breed of dog may also be taken into consideration as the local newspapers have reported an increase in attacks on locals by certain large breeds owned by Americans, and a coinciding push to ban certain breeds from the island.

  7. Trish – There is no housing on Schwab. You’ll be housed on Camp Courtney or McTureous. It’ll be about an hour drive-ish for your service member to get to work. How big of a family and what rank? That will decide where you live. I would suggest looking into the transmitter for the ETC and taking the expressway to work. That will save some time in the morning. Good luck.

  8. Hi all..My family and I will be moving to Okinawa in July, and I was wondering if there is housing on Camp Schwab? If not does anyone know what the closest housing would be?

  9. Norm,
    I too would really like to know more details on your home and what agency you used?
    We are PCS’ing to Oki in 30 days and have not been giving much hope on the size, style or quality of home I would like, with in our price range. Would love to hear more success stories for those who have taken the time to wait it out for something more inviting to them.
    Any information cost, bedrooms, utilities, commute ..etc.. would be wonderful!
    Thanks!

  10. Hi Julie. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of housing available over here for those who want to live onbase. I live on Shields over by Kadena and know of at least 3 open units on my road today. You’ll be hitting the end of PCS season here if you arrive after August so there shouldn’t be too much of a problem trying to get into something. Just make sure that you guys submit your housing application or have your sponsor do it and the housing office will hold it until your husband goes to the housing brief when you/he arrives. The housing office will then backdate the application to whatever day you arrived and then you’ll be on the list. We were in Temp. Lodging for less than two weeks and we arrived at the peak of PCS season so hopefully you’ll be in it even less! Good luck on the move and with the new baby!!

  11. My name is Julie and my husband just found out we will be moving to Kadena AFB in Aug this year. We have two little girls who will be six and three, we also have a little one on the way due Aug. Hubby is trying to get his date pushed to Sept to give the baby time. Someone told him that no housing is free at this time and we will have to live off base. Dose anyone know if this is true? I am kinda worried about moving with a new baby and then trying to find a house and having two little girls on top of it! Thanks!

  12. Jenna, last I was told, kids of the same sex share a room until one of them is 10. That would put you in line for a 3 bedroom.

    Norm, your place sounds amazing. Have you done a post on it?

  13. Norm, do you mind telling us how much your very nice and large 🙂 house sets you back? I’m sold!

  14. Hi Norm, thanks for the your motivating words. We’ll be PCSing in April and have made up our minds to live off base. Your home sounds huge! What housing agency did you use? Thanks.

  15. I am a Marine who lived on base, duplex, for one year and hated it. It is so small and cramped it really is a waste to live on base when you have the option to live out in town for free. The housing agencies are great and will work with you to the fullest. Do not think you will be dealing with American attitudes with reference to business here. They will do their best to get you what you want. I have a 3 story 3000 ft plus house that is huge. I, my wife and kids love it. It over looks the ocean and is truly paradise. What a waste of a year living on base. I originally wanted to live out in town but my wife had never been overseas before so she was nervous. MOVE OFF BASE AT THE FIRST CHANCE YOU CAN! And do not live near the sea wall near Kadena as the traffic and military population is extreme there. Explore, you will love it…

  16. I forget to add in we will be assigned to Kadena AFB. We also have a small dog will this delay a housing assignment? Thanks in advance.

  17. We are also due to arrive in Okinawa in late June of 2009. A family of four ..two teenagers 13 and 16. My husband is a E7. We are curious on what type of housing SNCO will be offered? Is there special housing for SNCO? Does anyone know about the middle/high schools on base?

  18. Hi Jenna,
    Welcome to Okinawa Hai! As far as the rules go, you should be getting a four bedroom because of the ages and sex of your children. The BAH (or OHA) in Okinawa for an E5 in 2009 is…Y180000 which is roughly $1,984.45 based on the exchange rate of $1 USD = Y.90
    I found the rates HERE: http://www.interestingrates.com/bahrates/oharates.html
    I hope that helps. Have a great New Years!

  19. We will be arriving in Okinawa late June 2009. There will be 5 of us, 2 adults and 3 kids.. no pets. My children are all about 7 years apart. We will have one (girl) turning 14 in July (a few weeks after we get there) a boy who will be 7 and another boy that will be close to 5 months in age. I am confused if we will be offered a 3 bedroom or a 4 bedroom. My husband is an E5 and might have a line number for E6 when we get there. He will be working on Kadena. I don’t mind living on base and I wouldn’t mind living off base but don’t think we can find a 4 bedroom off base that has the things we would like in the price range. I don’t even know what our BAH will be. Anyone know if we will be offered a 4 bedroom since our kids are so far apart in age. There is no way I can put a 7 yr. old and a 5 month old in the same room! We live in Spain now in a 3 bedroom and the babies stuff doesn’t fit anywhere. Anyone also know what BAH is for an E5 with 4 dependents?

  20. Hi everyone! We are in the process of moving to Okinawa next month. I have a few questions. My husband will be working on Futenma. Is there housing there or will we be assigned housing somewhere else. If so, where? Could someone please feel me in on the condions of the houses where we may live (new or old) and the size of the houses. I have heard many people say that they like living in the towers but I was hoping to get a house with a yard because my two young kids love to play outside. If anyone has housing pictures, I would love to see them.

    Thanks in advance!

  21. Hey there we are coming to Okinawa in March 09. My hubby is an E-7 and we have 2 children (1 boy & 1 girl)( 7 & 3). My hubby will be working on Futenma any idea where they may try to stick us for housing? I really DO NOT want a tower. We do not have any pets, but I want a house of some sort. Are there still lots of towers open? We are bringing all of our homely comforts. We will be there for 3 years and want to live like we would any where else. SO our furniture is not pricey but we are bringing it all!!! Any advice other than not bringing to much stuff…
    THanks So Much
    Donna

  22. Tony,
    The Ginowan or Kitamae area is really nice, near the ocean and an easy commute to Futenma. You will def. find a nice 2 bed place off base…
    good luck!

  23. Tony,
    An E-5 with no kids will definitely be able to afford a nice place off base. As soon as you get here your sponsor should take you to the different housing agencies off base. They will show you places in your BAH cap with the amenities that you ask for. As long as you have transportation, living off base is great.

  24. hello, I am due to arrive in okinawa at the beginning of january. I am an E-5 in the marine corps and i am recently married. I will be stationed on futenma. i havent really seen any other info on futenma marines. i was hoping to get some info on what housing will be available for us and on what base they will be on. We have no children so im thinking 2 bedroom but i cant find any other information concerning this. is there any nice off base housing in that general area and is it worth it to move of base as an e-5. Thanks in advance.

  25. TO James (or other Army folks based on Torii)

    You can get a house or apartment in Yomitan. You can even live in Onna and be able to get to Torii without an ugly commute… Yomitan has many options PLUS a lot of people consider it “too far” from other bases so it leaves more options for Torii folks…

    I live in Yomitan and love every minute! Great little restaurants / friendly Okinawan neighbors / fresh fruit & veggie stand / AWESOME views!

    Also the school zone is for Bob Hope Elementary / Kadena MS / Kadena HS… And the bus does pick up in Yomitan (not all the way to Zampa but up 6 past Torii)

  26. In response to Marybeth,
    I think there is a good chance you could get a tower ..they have alot of vacancies on Courtney…I’m not sure about McT but most of the people I’ve met so far from Hansen are here on Courtney.. My husband is an E-5 and we have one child and we have a 3 bedroom. We were offered 2 tower apts. nothing else was available. I also have met a few higher ranking ppl that have no children and live in the 3 bedroom towers. Its few and far between but I figured I would give you some hope due to all the tower vacancy. Hope your transistion is smooth good luck 🙂

  27. ok – I just want to clear some things up. My husband and I are Air Force, and arrived in May with two kids (10 & 3 year old girls) and one on the way, a little boy. We were on the waiting list for housing 2 months before we got here. Once here, it was only a week before we were made our offer. Now mind you, we are old (Im 30, he’s 29) but we just enlisted, so we are E-3 ~ we were offered 2 Towers – both on Camp Foster!! I was devestated (at first) I seriously thought I would pack up and go back home!!! We went to look at the two towers, and the first one was an older one, large, but very industrial feeling. The second one, and the one we chose was totally brand new and updated. . . and HUGE!! We are on the 1st floor, and I would say we have close to 1600-1800sq ft (not certain, but it feels SO large). We have a 3 bedroom ~ and my kitchen space, storage, and counter space is to die for (my friends on Kadena are envious)I would say I don’t like living around younger, loud couples either – but have had NO issue what so ever since moving in here. I NEVER hear my neighbors, and they don’t hear me (atleast they havn’t said anything). It kinda sucks not having a yard at times, though it has forced us to get out and explore the hundreds of wonderful parks that Okinawa Offers (we’ve only been to like 4 thus far). I think if we did have a yard, we may not have gotten out quite as much. Also, I have no yard to have to care for ~ which is nice. I was terrified of living in the towers (the stories I heard) but really, it isn’t bad at all. I would pick to live here over some places that my friends have that are multiplex or single family. I really hope this helps shed some “good light” on tower living.

  28. Hey everybody! love this site! My husband has orders to oki in october. He’s an 0-1 stationed at camp hansen. I understand we will probably live at camp courtney or mct. We don’t have children yet so do we only qualify for a two bedroom tower?

  29. EM,
    you mentioned if we are on kadena we probably will not be offered towers? I know my husbnad is to be stationed at tori adn we will live on kadena and I am really keeping my fingers crossed for a anything but the towers!

  30. Hi, James. Most likely, you’ll be in Kadena which is about 15 minutes drive to Torii. We have a friend who worked at Torii and lived on Kadena. As for the type of housing… If you’re going to be housed in Kadena or Lester, you’ll be in either a multiplex, duplex, or single house. In Foster, they have 2 & 3 bedroom tower apartments, multiplexes, and single houses.
    You may want to check your housing options both on and off base. We lived on base during our first 2 years here then moved off base. We love living off base for many reasons and only wish we moved off base sooner. Our mistake was we decided to live on base without even looking at the single houses off base.

    Good luck!

  31. I am a CID Agent in the Army and was wondering what type of housing I can get. I am married and have three children, two boys, 4 and 2 years of age and one girl, 6 months old, we have no pets. What kind of hosuing am I looking at? I heard I have to be within 60 minutes of where I work which will be Torii Station and is it possible for me to get a single unit home?

  32. We are headed to Oki in Late May early June also and I was wondering the same thing, will on base housing be hard to get?

  33. MPS is mailing within the military postal system, but it is only available for free between OCONUS (overseas) locations. Won’t work for you from San Diego — Sorry!

    There is a whole long post about dealing with pets coming to/from Okinawa. I think it’s under the TO LIVE section…

  34. Can anyone tell me if there is such thing as free mailing from one base to another? I was thinking about mailing some stuff ahead of our move…..we were suppose to be there in March but our orders were changed. Will we have a hard time getting our pets there? We’re coming from San Diego.

  35. Pamelala!

    Welcome to Okinawa. So glad you were able to get your dog here smoothly. Please keep us posted with how it goes for you. No more throwing up hopefully! We don’t have many readers that I know of down in the Kinser area so maybe you can be the voice of that area!

    Again, WELCOME!

    Meredith

  36. Hi Kimberly,
    1800 sq. foot homes may require a little more effort here on Okinawa, esp. in the congested, popular areas outside Kadena, but don’t give up! Once you arrive, I suggest calling as many housing agencies as possible and start looking. If you look under the “To Live” sidebar and select “off-base housing”, there are numberous posts with pictures of off-base homes mainly in the Central part of the island within driveable distance of Kadena. Best of luck to you!

  37. We will be arriving in Mid to end June. I hear that is a really hard time to find housing due to the high PCS. we are looking for something over 1800 sq ft. My husband and I are both Active duty military E-7 and E-6 with 4 children going to be stationed at Kadena. Looking for some place off base that has lots of space and may possibly accept a pet (we don’t have one, but considering a small dog). Any information or pics of your off base home will be most helpful.

  38. Welcome, Pamelala! Best of luck on finding that perfect house here on Okinawa. Would love to hear where y’all finally land and hoping to hear more about your acclimation to the island. You came at just the right time-I think the beaches will be opening up very soon. We stopped off at Kadena Marina today and the kids couldn’t resist jumping in the clear blue water w/their clothes on!

  39. I am here! Everything is so different to how I thought, first of all, I didn’t need to rent the microchip scanner for my dog, nobody really cared when we hit Naha! They just waved us bye! Then, the whole issue with their being no multi plexes on kinser…we just saw them last night, we have our housing appt. tomorrow. I actually want to live off base but it seems the traffic to Kinser is pretty bad…we also have an appt. with Joy housing on Monday…I am hoping they can find us something…they do have a house coming up in Awase, but I hear that is a BAD commute…Oh the excitement, the adventure!!! Yesterday, my son threw up all over A & W lobby, I felt so bad, but the staff were so gracious. I just love the tropic-ness and am already snapping pics, attached to the hip – me and my camera!

  40. I just wanted to throw in a quick update…
    we arrived in Okinawa 3 weeks ago. Within a week, we found a gorgeous traditional Japanese house in Uruma City. My husband is E-6, we have 2 dogs and no kids. The listing stated no pets allowed, but the agency spoke to the owner on our behalf, and they decided to allow them. If you see a house that you REALLY like that says no pets, ask them anyway. 🙂

  41. Joy Housing or Seaside finds homes for people with dogs too. Staff NCOs get paid enough to have a place off base with dogs. And the Japanese are very pet friendly.

  42. I just moved off base and O have 2 dogs and so does the neighbor. You are somewhat limited in your choices, but it wasn’t really a problem. I have a beautiful house right on the ocean.
    We went through Sunnys. They are awesome.
    Daniela

  43. How hard is it for E-6’s to find off base for 2 pets? I have heard off base housing with pets is very difficult to get and I was wondering if it is even worth trying. I have a weimaraner and a beagle so I would need a place that accepts big dogs. Are there any particular housing agencies from the ones listed on this site that are particularly good about finding housing off base for those with pets? Thanks everyone!

  44. Master bedroom has a walk in closet. The other rooms are a regular closet. There is a shelve above the bar to hang clothes on, but that is it. The bathroom cabinets are also small. They are the same size as the sink. There is no built in shelves or drawers besides that. However, Eagle Hardeware carries the wire closet shelving that is free if you live on base (not available to off base residents).

  45. Bambi,
    Thanks for the info. so now are there built in shleves or drawers on the rooms or closets? Are the closets walk ins?

  46. Lisa-
    A Cali. King bed in our room would be wall to wall. We have a 6 drawer dresser and queen size bed in our room and that is pretty much all that fits on the one wall. Then we have an isle to get to the door and across is 2 chest of drawers. Pretty much feels the room. The Master rooms are like 13 X 16. Not to big and that is in a 3 bedroom. They are smaller in a 4 bedroom!

  47. Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it. My husband researched a lot and now we now what we have to do, so the dog doesn’t stay in Quarantine for more than the usual 12 hrs!

    About the housing though, that’s our main concern, are waiting lists for E4s really long? My husband is a Marine. What do the houses for this rank look like? I would appreciate any information, thank you so much Joelle!

  48. Claudia, if you look under the “To Live” drop down menu on the right side of the page there is a link to “Pets” — there is a wonderful post there with probably more information than you even wnat! But the quick answer: yes, it’s hard to bring a pet because there is lots of paperwork and possibly a high monetary cost & up to 6 months quarantine.

  49. Hello everybody! My name is Claudia and I have a couple questions. My husband and I are planning on going to Okinawa at the beginning of next year. He’s E4 right now, so by the time we move he may still be E4 or be just picking up E5.

    How is the housing for E4s and E5s with a kid and a dog? Is base housing hard to get?

    Is it hard bringing a dog over there? Lots of paperwork, etc? My husband researched a lot of stuff and it appears to be that the dogs need to be quarantined sometimes for a few days.

    Anyways, I would appreciate all the informatuion you could give me about the housing and preschools in the area. Thank you so much!

  50. Thanks Bambi, are you in Courteney or McT? I was just wondering about the storage space and if my Cal King bed will fit in the bedrooms. My hubby is really tall so we have to have a big bed. How are the closets? We’re on Camp Pen & In housing and hubby has at least a 35 min commute everyday so we’re use to that anyway. I guess there is traffic every where in the world !!

  51. Lisa and Heather-
    Both of you will get housing on Courtney or McT. For Hansen it is about a 35 min drive(with no traffic) and for Schwab it is around 45 min drive (again with no traffic). If my husband were to be stationed on Schwab we would probably live out in town in the Ishikawa area (cuts 15 min. off the drive time, but is still close to Elementary which is on McT.) For Hansen, it is up to you. We are stationed on Hansen and are discussing the move out into town. We hate all the time spent driving, but the downfall for us is the time the child would spend on a bus. The housing is ok and isn’t to bad! We just wish there was away to see the hubby a little more!!! Most afternoons it takes him 45 min. to drive home from work because traffic is so bad. That puts him getting home at 5:30. On top of dinner and extracuricular kids activities we don’t get to see a lot of him in the house!

  52. Hello,
    My husband just received orders to Okinawa Japan. He is E-5 and he is going to Camp Schwab I believe. We have two children (5 and 3). I would appreciate any advice about moving plans. Also, does anyone know where the housing units are for those stationed at Camp Schwab? I have heard that there are no units at that particular camp. Any information is much appreciated!
    Happy New Year to you all!

  53. We are moving to Oki in Late march early april 08 and my HUbby will be on Hansen. he is E-7 and we have 2 small dogs and no children. Can you all let me know what you think we will get as far as housing goes. I am really wanting to see what the inside of these houses look like. I’ve been told we will have to go to Courtney or McT. Is this true? what is it like in these housing areas?

  54. I dont know if the housing is available, but Courtney does have 3 bedrooms houses. There is also houses on McT that are 3 bedrooms. McT is usually offered as Courtney until you go into the office to pick up the key to go look at it. Our friends didn’t get moved until after she had the baby. I don’t know why, but that is what housing did to them (however, there wasn’t a planned c-section either and she didn’t need a c-section making a move after having baby easier than doing it 9 months pregnant!!!)

  55. Has anyone here ever moved into bigger housing after they became pregnant? I’ve been going rounds with housing trying to get into something bigger. I’ve been on the housing list since Oct 1st and I’m being told that housing won’t be offered until after the baby is born and that for some people they try to accomodate them by offering them housing a month before their due date. My problem is that I’m going to have a mandatory c-section making it impossible to move after I have our second child and my surgery will most likely be scheduled 2 wks prior to my due date to avoid complications. So, that would leave me a 2 wk window to move and get settled while being 9 months pregnant (and very uncomfortable too). Have any of you had to deal with this so called policy? If so, what did you do? I’m at a loss. I am considering getting a medical note from my OB physician but I’m not sure that would even do any good at this point. Also they originally stuck us on Shields when we moved here (our only option) and are now being told that even though my husband still works at Hansen that they want to stick us on Courtney. I have heard though that Courtney doesn’t have 3 b/r non tower apartments anyway (we have a cat and can’t move to a tower). Is that true?

  56. hi! My husband and i will be arriving in Okinawa early February (USMC E6). any word on how long the housing wait is? we are brining our cat so we are hoping we dont get offered the towers. i have been told you get one offer for housing, if you refuse it you have to live off base. (thats what the website says) can you re-apply for housing after like six months? we are currently at an air base and love the housing, we have a huge 3 br house with full basement, i know that we will not get that in Oki, but i am looking forward to living in base housing.

  57. First of, thank you so much for all the responses. I guess it wont hurt to consider off-base housing unless of course we get lucky on the newer units. Then again, that’s in Kadena or Foster. Do they give out those even if hubby’s camp is in Kinser? How is it living in the towers besides the A/C-heat issue?

  58. It sounds like there are some real differences between experiences on base! My home gets very cold in the winter – this is my third winter, and I have wanted/needed heat all three years. The previous two I wanted heat most days for about 3 months, and I haven’t ever wanted AC during the winter months (say, mid-November until at least March). Our unit’s AC broke in June during the rainy season two years ago, and even then it wasn’t a big deal to live without it for 2 weeks – like I said, different experiences in different places! Perhaps some base housing holds heat or remains cool better than others? My home is a newer (I think 3 years old) multiplex in Sada housing on Camp Foster, for people who are new and considering their options!

    Sada may be too cold for you, but it doesn’t really have a mold problem. In the summer, the AC does act as a dehumidifier, plus we run a dehumidifier 24/7. The only place we have mold is out in our outdoor storage unit. I wore a reflective vest from out there on a run my first year here and had to go to the ER with an allergic reaction, but I’ve never had any problems in my house. Again, this issue really depends on where you live – there are brand new units/multiplexes going up on Camp Foster and on Kadena, and I imagine the mold is much more controlled in the newer housing.

  59. Is the A/C off for some of you on Kadena? Mine is still on…. Maybe they’ve changed the rules on Kadena too??

  60. I our house stays warm with the ac running in every room. The downstairs gets a bit chilly at night, but not nearly that cold! The upstairs is comfortable by night time, but we just keep the AC on low all winter. Last year when they turned off the AC for 30 days for maintance I thougth I was going to die in my house from the heat!! We literally purchased 3 fans so we could keep the house cool enough to sleep and not be sweating. I really don’t think they need heat in Okinawa
    As for the original question, If you have mold allergies you will always be sick in base housing. Our house has it in the bathrooms. Every 30 days we are cleaning the ceiling with mold and mildew killer, however, it keeps coming back. If you open the little square boxes you can see it growing there. Really Gross. I had a friend who’s kids were getting sick in base housing from the mold. Moved out to town and they haven’t gotten sick since. So, you might want to consider the out in town option if there is an already known mold allergy in the house!

  61. Just a brief comment about on-base AC and heating – it turns out that there is a new policy on the Marine Corps bases of “year-round AC,” although they will still turn it off for 30 days to conduct maintenance. This means that there is never any heat (though the buildings are capable of heat, we had it my first winter here). Kadena still follows the old policy of turning off the AC in December (and turning on the heat!) and turning the heat off and AC back on when the weather warms up (I’d have to check which month it is… by March?). By the way, by “turning it on” or off, that means that the entire housing area (multiplexes and towers) cannot use the AC in their homes. When it is on, however, we have control over the temperature of each room, so that is nice.

    I have been writing to the housing and facilities officers via “ICE” (Interactive Customer Evaluation) to let them know that I think family housing without heat in the winter is unacceptable. I don’t know about you all who do have heat as an option, but I would have turned it on at least at night for the past week – it’s been 50-54 degrees! Not to get on a soapbox here, but I’d really appreciate it, if you agree that kids need heat in their house (I worry especially about others who have infants like I do), please consider posting something on ICE to ask them to change the policy on the Marine Corps bases (Courtney, Foster, Lester, Kinser). Thanks.

  62. Hi Cherry,
    I don’t live on-base, but I do believe that they do turn off the AC at certain times of the year due to cooling weather. But be warned that Okinawa weather changes quite a bit and there can be pretty warm days in the middle of winter.

    Concerning off-base housing, the housing agencies here are aware of the housing rates according to rank and will negotiate appropriately so. If your husband is stationed at Camp Kinser and you have no pets, then you will most likely be assigned one of the Tower apartments. Has your husband taken a look at those?

    For more info., there is a popular thread on this site that may help under the “To Live” category: http://www.okinawahai.com/2007/03/to-live-on-or-o.html

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!
    -Lan

  63. Cherry — Lan is starting to post people’s “templates” almost every week. You if you look under “TO LIVE” you’ll find the one’s that have been posted so far. In there you’ll find some info on housing agents, etc.

    I live on base on Kadena and we are E6 and are in the new housing — so no mold issues — but there is no guarantee to get the new housing. If I were you I’d see what they offer you and then just say no if it’s yucky. 🙂

  64. what would be best for a Marine Corps E6 family with 4 children no pets? My son has a LOT of allergies. Im so worried about the mold (or fungal) issue that i’ve been hearing in base housing as well as dogs/cats that are allowed in the towers. These are just a few of his major allergens. And the A/C issue….they shut it off at certain times of the year in base housing? Why? Bcuz its cool enough? It seems like off-base housing is ideal for us but im worried about the expenses and the location. My hubby who’s already there is stationed in Kinser. Anybody know of any place where i can find info re: off-base houses? Please help.

  65. Thanks Aviva… I am a military dependent so I do have an ID card… just not as his spouse. I figured that it would be too much money NOT married! Finishing I mean, he is almost done with SF training and will be stationed there in Nov/Dec. Thanks for the info… and how do I make a thread? This site has been so informative!

  66. Wow, Jes! Yeah – I’d say that’s probably a whole new thread.

    If he’s Army, almost certain he’ll be stationed at Torii Station. Possibly Buckner. When you say “finishing school” is he going to be an officer?

    I personally think it’d be prudent to be married to come here with him. Maybe let him come here and when he’s settled plan a visit and then decide. (Meredith – perhaps a thread on non-married folks in Oki?)

    The only person I’ve met here that came as a girlfriend got stuck here alone during the typhoon in July (living off-base) because her boyfriend was out in Australia on an exercise. A biggie is not being able to go on any American bases b/c you don’t have an ID. That’s why I think a visit would be prudent first. They definitely don’t take you into account when giving him housing, so if he’s enlisted you really couldn’t come unless you were paying for your own place, etc. It would be very very hard. Anyone else?

  67. I’ve read lots of responses and learned alot… My boyfriend finishes school in Oct and has orders for Okinawa. He is in the Army and I am not sure were exactly he will be yet. It seems like most of you are married, how expensive is the area if I were to chose to move with him without being married to him?

    I’m not sure how to start a new thread, hope I don’t impose on this one.

  68. OK, I have been doing my research and this house off base
    http://www.koza-housing.com/?id=94&i=2
    accepts pets…so it makes an E6 with pets do-able. now I don’t know where it is and haven’t seen it in ‘the flesh’ (well that would be a bit hard!!!) but it made everything seem a bit better and it is a decent size!

  69. I say bring them, and start the process of updating immunizations, micro-chipping, and rabies stuff now so you decrease your quarantine time once you arrive. Since you’re coming in off-peak season, housing shouldn’t be that bad, and like many others have done, you can always live off-base. Depending on your dogs’ weight/size, be prepared to pay extra to have them ride in the cargo area (we have an 80 lbs American bulldog and had to pay extra, can’t remember the amount, but I know you can find it on the AMC website or just call them). We’re glad we brought our dog, our daughter loves him, but we did leave 2 cats behind, traveling with one animal was hard enough! Good luck to you!

  70. Hey….Thanks so much for this site! I’ve visited your website a lot, but this is my first post, Yay! Anyhow, me and my husband are coming to Okinawa Early January 2008 to Foster I think he said. We don’t have kids, but I have 2 dogs I love like kids and can’t imagine leaving them behind, but from everyone I’ve talked to they’ve said pretty much I’ll have to because of the on base housing situation. If I bring them is it likely I will be offered an on base house suitable for pets. I’ve never considered living off base, but after reading these posts I kinda think it might sound interesting. What is my best bet. Should I leave my little fury children behind with family or risk it and bring them and try to get base housing or just do it and live off base with them?? Thanks for this site! I love it!!!

  71. OH yeah, there’s almost never carpet in places off base, so cats are just as welcomed as dogs with an additional deposit (not uncommon anywhere) – so cat-friendly too! Though if he/she is outdoor, be warned. There are lots of strays, I hear them fight out there all the time. I wouldn’t let my cat outside.

  72. As a happy off-baser, I just wanted to respond to Joelle and put some fall PCS peoples’ minds at ease on a couple of things (if you’re considering living off base):

    >>First, the A/C — I’ve heard lots of people say they make money by living off base because of making “deals” with landlords — but I also know that they turn the A/C off every time they leave a room during the summer. I can leave mine on all day without worrying about it which is FAB as a mom at home with 2 little ones. (I’ve also heard there are bigger mold problems off base because the temp doesn’t stay as constant.)

    –The dehumidifiers are built into the A/C units off base. Most people here don’t get as lucky as you and live in 20+-year-old units that aren’t as efficient. The mold problem on base is far worse than off, by everything I’ve heard due to the old construction. (Much of this is due to the residents’ level of cleaning and consciousness about the issue.) In high-rises and multiplexes, the government decides at some point in the fall to turn OFF the A/C for the season, and then if you have a hot spell, you’re just hot. (Not a problem in houses on base, or I think duplexes.) I control mine, and yes I pay for it, but it dehumidifies well and with good cleaning and living in a new building, I hope to avoid any mold issues. Point is, there are mold concerns not matter where you are.

    >>The second reason is related to typhoons — here on base, any problems are fixed by base personnel. Off base, you have to hope you have a great landlord. And I like the convenience of being able to walk to various activities on base!

    –Problems off base are fixed by our housing companies – Japanese people are very proud of their work, and are very good and efficient laborers. When we moved in, my living room A/C didn’t work and a part in my dryer was broken, and they fixed it as promptly as they could get the part they needed. And the time window for their arrival is always about 1 hour and they’re punctual. I haven’t heard any bad stories yet from my neighbors or off-base residents about getting things fixed. Also, on-base the water can become unpotable during typhoons at times, and power doesn’t return as quickly because the Americans are ordered to stay in. (Those crazy Japanese guys are out there fixing my power and laughing at how we’re all staying inside!) Off base during recent category 4 Man-Yi, we were only out power for 4 hours, most on-base didn’t have power all day. My block is almost all American families (no matter what there’s usually someone nearby who’s American) and we had plenty of people to commiserate with during the typhoon. So really, no big deal. And I can walk to the sea wall, lots of restaurants, a huge park with a skate park, and the grocery store. I just carry around some yen for snacks and vending machines! (YUM)

    I totally agree with Leebee- if there’s one thing that’s important it’s that you KEEP LOOKING and BE PICKY – stand up for exactly what you want, and if it means being in the lodge for a few more days, it’s worth it to be in the place you’ll love for the 3 years you’re here. I do think that if you have a family with kids, you DO want a dishwasher (you pay for water, it’s more efficient than hand washing) – that’s one thing I regret not having. And yes, Japanese appliances are more efficient, but smaller – so just know that.

    I truly don’t think there’s a right or wrong way – it’s what you prefer and how things go for you when you arrive. Good luck, all, and this forum is of such help – use it!

  73. They have to put you at the base he will be working at unless it is not available; then they give you the closest 3–or is it only 2 now–housing options available? And being that you don’t have children you will only get a 2 bdrm–tiny like 500sqft!

    3 words– LIVE OFF BASE!!! Housing pay is the same for lower grade officers (up to 0-3 I believe) as E-6; 190000 yen per month plus an extra 50000 yen for utility pay. I have been on base for one year and off base for 3+ years and would not recommend to anyone to live on base.

    We were only offered towers, which are slightly bigger than the multi-plexes, but it is a high-rise apartment none the less. The elevators in every tower I have ever been to stink of trash and taking groceries up with kids becomes an unbelievable chore. As for the multi-plexes, if you have none or one child the 2 bedrooms are tiny, but the 3 bedrooms would be livable–some of them anyway.

    Off base we have a single family home and live less than 5 minutes walk from the beach in a 1700sqft two story American style house. We have never had an electric bill over $300 (only in the summer do we go over $100) so we get to pocket the rest of that utility pay every month. We really have to make an effort to keep our kids involved and socialized, but it is nice because we get a lot more family time without the neighborhood kids knocking on the door constantly asking if mine can play. You have to move off base when you first arrive though, or the out of pocket moving expenses really add up (cost us about $5,000). All of the expenses are reimbursed by the military if you live off base first, but if you move on base first, then decide to move off it is from your own pocket.

    I think the key to being happy off base is KEEP LOOKING and BE PICKY. Go to as many different housing agencies as possible and look at what all of them have before you decide. Most importantly do not let them talk you out of your housing allowance range or into counting your utility pay into your housing pay–you’ll really need it for other things like long distance and internet. If you really like something let them talk to the owner and see if you can get the price down. They say Japanese don’t barter, but they do like our money and take advantage from time to time so don’t be take for. Also look for AC units in every room. If it doesn’t have very many you will be HOT and miserable. If the house doesn’t have something you want, ask. But be weary of American appliances because they suck a lot more electricity which gets expensive. You definitely don’t want a dishwasher and you want a gas range and as dryer if possible.

    Oh yeah and of course the best part of living off base is experiencing the culture. We get out off base a lot more and the neighbors are really friendly. I got in a car accident–in my driveway; there was a big water truck parked at the entrance so I had to pull out blind and 6 inches out a little mini-truack flew across my hood. Can’t blame an accident on a parked car so my fault of course..anyway– and my son who was 18mo at the time was on the road with me while I was trying to deal with the police report and everything. So my neighbor who was an elder man who cares for his grandchildren during the day, came and asked if my son could come to his house (through body language of course as he spoke no English nor myself Japanese). I said yes and we built bonds with them ever since.

    Sorry if I rambled. Bottom line I think it is a great experience to live off base and I hope I cleared up some of the myths about smaller housing and it being sooo expensive. You just have to do it right.

  74. Wow, Kat, you’re in the same position as me. My hubby got orders to Kadena less than a month ago, but since our extension request was denied, we leave at the end of November! He’ll be an E-6 when we get there, we’ve no kids, and we’re looking at bringing a cat. I’m looking at options like leaving him stateside for a few months (to get past some of the quarantine time) and then having him sent over. And I’m trying to find out more info about the kennel (testimonials, preferably). It sounds better than the kennels I’m used to, so maybe it’s not so bad?

    I’m really hoping to live off-base. It sounds like there are plenty of dog-friendly places, but what about cats?

    And does anybody live on a base they’re not stationed at? I thought I heard that they’ll offer what’s available at other bases unless you request your base only.

  75. Is there lots of people PCsing in October? Just wondering… That is when we will be arriving to Okinawa.. Didnt know heard different things about high and low pcs times. Also are towers the first thing that is offered for base housing. We are traveling with a dog and are considering leaving them behind but do not really want to be in a tower. My husband will be deploying to I raq when we arrive so I would really like to be able to move into housing instead of being alone out in town with my 3 year old daughter.

    Monica

  76. My husband is an E-6. We were only offered one choice for housing. We now live on Camp Shields in a very small 2 br/1 bath apartment. It’s very old. The inspector told us it was 20 yrs old, but I can tell by the ac and thermostats that he is off by another 10 years at least. I was really hoping to get into the new housing, but they weren’t even offering it up when we arrived. Hopefully, other people are more lucky:) We’ve had some probs here. Bugs were the first. We literally had an entire colony of dead bugs on the floor the day we moved in. They were there when we went to see the place, but we were told the apartment would be cleaned (which was why we had to wait five days to move in). It was a mess. We ended up bleaching everything (and I mean everything) for an entire day. Then we all got the flu that evening which lasted all weekend. It sounds horrible, but I can completely laugh about it now! My neighbors are all great, but I don’t see how we’re next to people who are all much lower in rank and do not have children. The military should really reconsider how they place people. It’s not very fair that we spend 2K a month to live here in this cramped unit when others get to spend much less and have more space than we do. It’s a good thing that we don’t actually see that money coming in and out of our pockets…It would really bug me then. My husband’s chief in Norfolk was temp. living in a unit next to E-3’s. That just doesn’t seem right. Needless to say…he moved. The other issue I have with our place is the AC. Don’t get me wrong…I’m completely happy that we at least have some. However, the AC units are so old that they have rust caked in the inside and there is mold growing on the insulation. I found an article about this issue that was written 6 years ago that Sen. McCain was backing. The Kadena Housing Office was supposed to have fixed the issue, but just by looking at mine I can see that they didn’t. It’s pretty gross. We’re thinking of having another child while we’re here…does anyone know if they actually let you move out to another place on base? I’m a little bummed out that we didn’t look offbase for another place to live now. I’m not sure we can have a family of 4 coexist in this tiny place with a cat too:)

  77. This is the weird thing… there are blueprints for 3 bed multis on kinser on that websire jim highlighted but I was told there are no 3 bed multis by the housing office???
    Cambria, where is Awase…OMG I think I would have a heart attack in a typhoon off base! and no friends for the kids to hang with….but I guess that is just one experience…any others?
    :o)

  78. My husband is in the Navy (E-6) and we live on base in the new multiplex houses (4 units together). I have a 2 year old and was pregnant when we arrived in April. I had to take them a doctor’s note saying I was pregnant (though it was PAINFULLY obvious at that point) and that allowed us to be on the list for a 3 bedroom house. We also have a large dog, but as other people have mentioned that does NOT mean they can’t offer you a tower place (which makes me so mad when you’ve already spent a TON of money bringing your 100 lb dog to Japan!). The first place we were offered was a tower, but a multiplex (an old one) was offered second. We said yes to that, but when we went to pick up the keys the next week we were told they had found asbestos under the flooring (which they were replacing) and so were giving us a new unit instead. BRILLIANT!

    Our new place is great — though all tile/hard flooring. I was able to buy nice carpet pieces (12×18 etc) at the housing store on Foster for cheap. We have a great kitchen with space for a small table… lots of storage (even a space under the stairs which is great as a “hideout” for little kids).

    But I have 2 major reasons for wanting to be on base. First, the A/C — I’ve heard lots of people say they make money by living off base because of making “deals” with landlords — but I also know that they turn the A/C off every time they leave a room during the summer. I can leave mine on all day without worrying about it which is FAB as a mom at home with 2 little ones. (I’ve also heard there are bigger mold problems off base because the temp doesn’t stay as constant.) The second reason is related to typhoons — here on base, any problems are fixed by base personnel. Off base, you have to hope you have a great landlord.

    And I like the convenience of being able to walk to various activities on base!

  79. Off-base housing here is EXTREMELY dog friendly – not like the states. Japanese love their dogs, and everywhere around me (by the Sunabe Sea Wall) there are families with dogs.

    The bigger issue than finding a place that will accept a dog is finding someone who lives on base to accept your dog for the quarantine period so that he/she/they don’t have to be in the kennel for 1-2 months. If you’re on base, you can quarantine at home. If you’re off, I’m told that if someone on base is willing to have your dog for the quarantine period they can – but that might be the deal breaker for some. But to me, a year in a house that I can’t stand living in would be torture. It’s luck of the draw I suppose.

    I’ve certainly had amazing service off base – very short time windows for repairs, and the government gives you any appliances you aren’t given that you need to make it home. Good luck, everyone!

  80. Wow, I REALLY appreciate the response! You guys are awesome!

    My hubby is an Air Force E-6, and we don’t have kids, though my husband has a son that doesn’t live with us. We DO have 2 pugs that are like our children, and mainly for that reason we want to live on base first. We got this assignment with less than 6 months to plan, and as of right now, my dogs are looking at a 3 month quarantine unless we can get base housing and do the “in-home” thing. That would break my heart. We’re PCS-ing in January, so hopefully that’s enough in the off-season to make us eligible for a house fairly soon after we move.

    We figured we’d live on base for a year or so and see how it goes. If we love it then we’ll stay, if not, we’ll move off-base. I REALLY wanted to live off-base initially, but the issue with my dogs makes that a no-go right away, unless it’s not possible to have it any other way.

    My grandmother is Japanese, and I speak it decently enough, though I don’t know a whole lot about this part of my heritage. I’m REALLY looking forward to moving!

  81. Thank you all for the great info provided. My husband and I will be moving to Oikinawa in October 2007 seems reallt close. We have a toddler 3yrs and a small pug. Seeing how the regulations have changed regarding pets we are really worried about housing. We heard there is new housing on Foster. Thats where my husband will be stationed out of. Hopefully we will have some luck with the whole housing stuff. Also great info regarding the rank and housing being in the states we have just had PPV private venture housing where no body even considers rank. My husband just made E-7 once again thanks for the info found it really helpful

    Monica

  82. My husband works on Futenma.

    I don’t think it’s very hard to find housing off base with a dog. We know people who came over with us (husband is E7 Marine) and they also have 2 kids, a cat and a German Shepherd. Husband works on Courtney and due to the abundance of towers available, single housing and townhomes weren’t even offered, they were immediately told to find a place off base. Anyway, within 3 weeks of arriving they had a place. They live in the Awase area (called the low-lands, but fared well during the typhoon). Their landlord even added a fence to the property to accomodate their dog. Problems they’ve had: cable/internet issues since they have to use a local company – very nice customer service, just takes a long time to get someone out to make a service call, their house didn’t have an oven, just a fish broiler, so they got an oven/range unit and washing machine & dryer from TMO that were installed in a little enclosed alley attached to their house…cooking is very interesting, they have virtually no storage in their house even though they have a huge balcony and patio area, they have very few American neighbors but seem to do just fine (kids have no friends to play with). It’s definitely an adjustment for them and the wife told me they stay within their utility allotment every month, so that’s good. But, they are on a waiting list to try and get on-base housing. Everyone’s different. It’s difficult for them with the kids and school and stuff, especially since both parents work, if one was at home, might be different, anywho, just thought I’d share from someone who lived off base.

  83. This is a good thread and so helpful, I hope it gets longer, I can’t get enough info! I feel the same like cambria and I guess a lot of people. We are coming with baggage: us, 2 kids aged 4 and 7 and a dog (a very nice rescued pitbull, don’t believe the media hype they are GREAT people dogs)AND going to kinser (that is the part I am not happy about! Esp. as it was foster and then they changed him). Hubby is an E6 and due for E7 but because of timing and logistics probably not going to happen for at least another yr. I think even if we were coming to kinser without a dog, I would not be happy about the tower situation. And I know he does not want to live around E1/2/3, no offence but been there done that – we are old LOL. Cambria – what base is your hubby on? I spoke to housing yesterday and they told me all the same stuff you guys already know about the staff nco thing and the rate for off base housing for E6-E8 being the same. Ideally I would like a single family home on base but obviously that is slim to none in our case so I am really thinking off base. Does anyone know how hard it is to find off base with a dog?

  84. We got here in March and my husband is an E-7 with the Marines. We also came with a dog, a toddler and I’m expecting our second child, so we were really nervous about getting housing that could accomodate us space-wise. We were offered a tower (even though pets aren’t allowed, they have to offer if they’re available) and an older single family house – we accepted the house sight unseen, based on a map of the floor plan, because we were so nervous about getting housing we didn’t care what it looked like. We got lucky. We live in Kishaba housing, right near the Westpac, and we really like our house. It’s a good size, about 1300 sq ft, we have a little patio, a yard for our dog and adequate storage. We currently use a cable to restrain the dog but are in the process of installing a fence. If you do get a house, you have to get authorized to install your own chain link fence. It’s a pain but will be well worth it considering we’re here for 3 years and our dogs needs to have some freedom (80 lb Amerrican Bulldog). Now that we’ve been here a few months, there’s a few things we don’t like about the location of our house, but even if we had looked at it prior to accepting it, we wouldn’t have known any different then. Our patio is a lot smaller than our neighbors and we have these huge covered man holes in our yard that are quite the eye-sore. We were just glad to get housing on base. We’ve never lived on base and figured we’d take advantage of it while we’re here. We have complete control of our AC/heating unit since we’re in a house (the towers don’t have control). If you can, I would suggest trying to get into single family housing (house) rather than the town-house units, which are 2 story and have smaller yards, which can be difficult with children. We love our house and have great neighbors too – we were really lucky. Be prepared to spend money on installing a fence ($200+), it’s a fun process! Good luck to you!

  85. E-6 thru E-8 get the same allowance for housing off base.

    The Air Force runs all Okinawa on-base housing, so an E-6 is NOT considered a staff NCO like he or she is considered in the Marine Corps. So if you’re on base, you could be living next to a bunch of young people (as a neighbor of mine found out.

    Find out when you look at the housing because even if the place looks ok, if the neighbors aren’t it could be a problem. Also, if what housing people show you isn’t to your liking, don’t take it. You’re stuck there for a year! And if you don’t like it, or want to live in town, like I said – you’re getting the same 200,000 yen that the E-7s and E-8s are, so go forth and spend it all! We’ve also found that our utility allowance was enough, even for the hot summer. On base they control the A/C – not you. So when they shut it off (say in September or October) if we have a hot spell, you can’t turn that A/C on! I’m happy to say I can.

    Hope that helps a bit.

  86. My husband is a SSgt (E-6) in the Marine Corps. I think most E-6’s live in multiplexes or “towers,” though I did know one who just moved who lived in a single-family home (slated for demolition soon). The rank breakdown, unfortunately, for enlisted personnel is E-1 to E-6 in the same neighborhoods, and E-7 to E-9 in the same neighborhoods. I think (it seems, I don’t know if this is official) that the trend is to move all of the “junior” enlisted personnel into the multi-family units. Many of the units on Camps Foster and Kadena (not sure what percentage) are nearly new or are brand new, so that is encouraging. I know that I went to a unit on Kinser that was not new, and it was pretty worn out, if you know what I mean. Luckily when you are offered housing, you get one chance to say “no thanks.” If you turn down two offers, however, you are put back on the bottom of the waiting list. Incidentally, it only took about 2 weeks, perhaps 3, to receive our first offer, which we took since the housing was only a year old.

    Housing offers also depend on family size and pet “status.” I am expecting my second child next month, so when we moved here we were only offered a 2-bedroom multiplex. (Supposedly we could try to get on the list for a 3-bedroom at this point, but we wouldn’t be guaranteed one, and the cost of moving is a bit high, since it’s not a military move. My husband vetoed the idea because of the hassle.) The multiplexes often allow pets (up to 2), since they have yards. I estimate that our unit is 1000 sq ft. As we plan for a new baby, it feels very cramped. Before that, it felt “cozy” – big enough for our simple lifestyles, but small enough that it didn’t take long to clean. =) It depends on your own lifestyles and preferences, of course. There is a huge development of newer 3-bedroom multiplexes on Foster (and again, several newer ones that I’ve seen on Kadena as well), and they appear to have the same features and layout as my unit, except of course that they have a third bedroom and as such, are a bit wider, providing more living space downstairs as well.

    The newer base housing, I will say, is pretty well-equipped: many closets, neat perks like motion-sensor lights and American-sized appliances, outdoor storage space, etc. Our downstairs has a family room/dining room, a tiny kitchen, a small laundry room, a small coat closet, a storage space under the stairs, and a half bath. Upstairs, of course, are just the two bedrooms (I think they’re both the same size, or nearly so) and the full bath. One bedroom has two of what I would call a “standard” size closet, one right next to the other (they take up the whole wall), and the other has two smaller closets and a walk-in closet. We also have an enclosed patio of decent size that leads out into our backyard. We have a nice (but not always well-kept) playground behind our multiplex, as do most people, and we share a large yard with our neighbors (we are responsible for lawn care 80 ft out from our property or halfway in between our unit and the next unit). Trash and recyclables are picked up at our curb. Oh, and our units have carpeting, though it is paper-thin and covers a concrete floor. It is nicer than the institutional tile that exists in the older homes, but it isn’t sufficient to soften a baby or toddler’s fall.

    That is my on-base perspective. My husband was promoted shortly after we moved here, so at the time we were considering where to live, he was only an E-5. He had asked around and had heard that one could get a decent apartment with the housing allowance, but that the “other” housing costs were often more than the allowance and that many families decided to move on base to try to save some money. We decided to see what was offered to us on base first, and our unit seemed great. It has a nice wide sidewalk all around it which is great for walking/jogging/strollering, and many of the “pros” that I listed above. Now it feels small for my particular family, as I mentioned, and it’s also a bummer to me that most of my neighbors are lower in rank than my husband and mostly consist of young married couples with no children. This means that the noise level is sometimes loud, and of course there are the usual multi-family dwelling issues one has everywhere (whose animal has left droppings in my yard?, whose trash can is this in my cubby?, is that pit bull restrained?, etc.).

    I have some pictures of my family that show parts of the house – Meredith, could you teach me how to upload them? Hope that answers a few questions.

  87. Thanks for the great info Jennifer! Incidentally I’ve been to her house and its really nice and very new. It’s in much better shape then my single dwelling home which is bigger but about 30 years older!

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