Okinawa Hai fallback


When I was about 36 weeks pregnant w/my chunky monkey Billy_laughing_2 , my nesting instinct kicked in and I wanted desperately to set up house again in a new, larger place to accommodate our newly expanded family of five.  But eventually, practical sense and friends telling me that I was bonkers settled in and we’re still here in our house.  But I’m not giving up!  With a possible year left here in Okinawa, I’m enjoying thinking about moving us all into a larger home with room to let the kiddos crazily run around in circles and play in a large dog-poop-free yard.  For Okinawa Hai! reader Suzy, this is old business.  She lives on-base and has gone through the whole ordeal of upgrading to a larger home while pregnant AND dealing with the bureaucracy that is inevitable with government agencies.  Single, Double, TRIPLE kudos to you, Suzy!  She has graciously offered to share with us her experience so that we don’t have to jump through the same ol’ hoops to get into a better living situation.  Thanks so much for sharing, Suzy!

“We moved here to the island at the end of May and became pregnant with our second child a few months after the fact.  We were originally put into a 2 Bdrm so we’ve had to go through the process of trying to get into a larger unit.  I thought I’d write something for anyone else having to deal with a similar experience while here in Okinawa.  It’s been quite an ordeal I have to say but I really think it would have been a much smoother transition had we received the proper information.”

“The first step that should be taken is to go to your health care provider to receive a letter confirming your pregnancy.  This is usually only given to active duty military members so my OB physician was quite shocked when housing requested it.  But, they need the confirmation.  Then you take this confirmation along with a newly filled out housing application to your local housing office.  The housing office will then put you on their waiting list.  We were told many different things by many different people but the reality is that they will usually only offer you something either right before you give birth or after you give birth.”

“This is their policy.  We knew from the minute that we found out that we were pregnant that we’d need to have another mandatory c-section so that led to a tiny bit of a problem.  We wouldn’t have been able to move after the baby was born and most physicians won’t recommend a move such as this during the last month of pregnancy so we were left scrambling to find another option.”

“After months of calling housing and desperately checking our status on the waiting list, I was about to give up.  I purchased a special mini crib to squeeze into our tiny bedroom and figured we’d make do.  Then I ran into another pregnant woman who I found out had the same situation but was due after me.  She had already moved into a bigger unit though!  I immediately contacted housing (by the use of the ICE system) to file a complaint and was finally told what I needed to do to help our situation less than two days later.  If you have any medical issues that need to be accommodated, you can go to housing and ask for “exception to policy” paperwork.  Once this paperwork is filled out and stamped by your command or your husband’s command, it needs to be submitted to housing (along with a written letter by your physician stating the medical condition and recommendation).  This paperwork then goes through housing’s chain of command (including a medical rep. that contacts your physician) for approval.  I’m told this process can take a while so if you need to do all of this I would suggest doing it as soon as possible.  We got lucky.  We have only been on the list for about 4 months and were just offered a new place which is ironic because I was just about to drop all of the required paperwork off at the housing office.”

“The housing options will be the same as they were when you first arrived to the island.  You will still be given a choice of two units (if available) and you have the option to turn both down.  You won’t be forced out of the unit you are already in if you do so, but you will have to wait another 90 days and again re-submit all of the appropriate paperwork.  And, if you’ve never moved off base you are still eligible to the entitlement to help with the upfront costs associated with doing so.   If you have any military issued furniture, the military will move this for your base to base move at their expense (I’m not sure if it’s the same for an off base move?).  This means that you’ll only have to find a way to move everything else.  I’m working on this as we speak so if anyone has any advice, I’d gladly accept it!  There is also the issue of cleaning the first unit that you are in that needs to be taken into consideration.  I have been told that a full cleaning must be done when moving from base to base as compared to a PCS cleaning when you move away from the island.  The housing rep that I spoke with told me that the full cleaning needed can be quite extensive and recommended using a government contracted company to do it for us if need be.  I’m not sure how much they charge but I’ll definitely be looking into it.  Anyway…I hope this information is helpful to those who need it:)!”


  1. I’m really glad if the info helps guys! I guess I should update…we ended up moving and everything went well. We did end up paying the cleaning fee. The list of stuff they wanted us to do was really extensive! I had no desire to strip the wax off the floor and rewax it in my condition:) It ened up costing around $175. The inspector told us there is a discount if you pre-clean for the contracted cleaners. So we went ahead and then used the extra cash to rent a truck on Kadena. If anyone ever needs a truck to move something they have pretty good prices there. The rental place is behind the main gas station over near the H&R block. The only thing they didn’t have was a dolly and I couldn’t find one anywhere for some reason. Everyone I spoke to kept referring me to the Outdoor Rec. equipment people and Eagle hardware, both of which did not have them. After doing everything ourselves, I have come to the conclusion that it’s probably wise to just hire someone else to do it all for you:) I even read that budget movers (the ones that are located at the BX furniture store) only charge about $250 to pack and move your stuff!??? So, I would def. recommend looking into it if you’re considering a DIY move. I’m not sure about Melissa’s question. I was told that if you accept something that you are stuck with it for at least a year with the option of then moving offbase after that year unless you either get pregnant, or have another medical condition. You should def. check into it when you go to your housing meeting. Plus, if your husband is an O-3 you guys might have better options even. I’ve seen some REALLY nice officer housing on Kadena that I believe were 4 b/r townhomes. They looked like real homes on the inside! So, hopefully you can snag one of those. Also to Joelle, I hear that they are sticklers for making kids share rooms here. I think the only way to get around it is to either move before they find out the gender of your next child, or if they meet the age requirements that Bambie posted. I think it also depends on availability and who you speak to. The first person I spoke to at housing was not so nice and before I could even say how far along I was, she was insisting that the new baby would have to share a bedroom with my daughter. I really had to fight to get this move approved. Oh and one more bit of info…if you should need to get additional furniture you can at the self help facility on Sheilds. You just need to go to the Kadena housing office and head over to the furniture management section (no appt needed) and request whatever you need. We were originally told by the housing rep that we didn’t qualify for another bedroom set but that wasn’t the case. I’ve found that it takes a couple of trys to get the info that you need because everyone tends to have a different answer. So…just keep trying and don’t get discouraged:)!

  2. We actually moved to a bigger on base house due to promotion. In that case, the military makes you pay for the move.(Not a huge deal as local Japanese movers are VERY reasonable) We also paid the 250 dollars or so to the government for them to clean our place. It was soooo worth it! I’ve heard from military inspectors that most people pay this fee and those that don’t can sometimes run themselves thru the wringer trying to get a place clean enough to move out! Not sure if this is true or not but as I don’t clean anyway it was well worth the money to me.

  3. Suzy, thank you SOOO much for the helpful info. If you know (or someone else can jump in) can you also list here the rules for qualifying for an extra bedroom?? I remember something about same sex sharing rooms until 8 or something like that? I think it’s posted somewhere else, but might be good to have attached to this post.

  4. Thank you so much for your insight. We have 3 kids and are moving to Oki in July. I plan on getting pregnant right away and I know we’ll want to upgrade. I think we qualify for a 4 bedroom right off the bat, but I’m just not sure I’ll want to wait in temp housing while one comes up. We’ll probably just take a 3 bedroom and put ourselves on the 4 bedroom waitlist. Does anyone see a problem to that? Oh, in case it matters, my hubby is an 0-3. Thanks for the info.