Okihai 001








The transient lifestyle can bring out the handyman and interior designer in all of us.  Creating the perfect home for our family to make the best of what we’ve got can be challenging enough when half of our belongings are in storage.  Then throw in cement walls, a strange sink contraption and a weird hose and we’ve got ourselves a party!

Whether we live on-base or off-base, these little dilemmas can arise causing our Okinawan experience to be more frustrating than necessary.  One of our readers has such a problem now.  Please share your wisdom.

My husband and I just moved here in September of last year and are living in base housing (the towers) on Courtney.  We’ve hung up some pictures and only have one window covering up.  My question is we’ve had a very hard time hanging things up (particularly the window curtains) correctly since the studs we find behind the walls are in very odd places for hanging things.  What do other people do?  I’m particularly interested in hearing what people do with the window curtains.   There’s already sliding hooks in place on the ceiling where I’m assuming you can hang curtains on, but I just can’t make any sense of them – do other people use them and how does it work with standard curtains?  However, if others have mainly just put up regular curtain rods to hang their curtains on, how do they get them to stay?  The one and only curtain rod we’ve put up is now falling down on one side b/c the screw came out of the hole (b/c the closest stud was about a foot away). 


  1. Hey! Getting ready to PCS to Okinawa and we plan to live on post and I was wondering what length curtains are recommended. I assume by the posts to just buy very long rods and cut them down if necessary but I wasn’t sure about the lenth of the curtains.. Thank you so much!

  2. The Awase Nitori is right next to the Sports Depot and down the road from the Gushikawa Jusco. I probably should call it the Gushikawa Nitori, but it is so close to Awase, that is what I call it. It is the one off 85.

  3. Our tower has the little drapery sliders already installed in the ceiling. So I just bought a bunch of drapes from Makeman and Nitori. I live on the first floor so we have to have curtains in every room!

    When we lived in a different tower a few years ago we just screwed our curtain rods into the ceiling instead of trying to attach them to the wall. Worked great especially with the huge dining room window. You can also buy special hanging hook things at the makeman that you can nail into the cement walls. They look like a little J and have like 4 teeny nail type things at the top of the J.

  4. Aahhhh…Thank you Shannan!! I live in Sebille Manor with the extremely long sliding glass door too and am FED UP with the blinds but was wondering where in the heck I was going to find a curtain rod long enough!!! I’ll have to try that!!!!

  5. For those looking for extra long rods, I have a cheap solution. We are in Sebille Manor with a very loong window.

    I am not good at decribing things and use made up words, but here goes.

    I bought two of the cheapy brass looking cafe rods that I think go to like 60″. The curtain rods are 2 part a smaller rod slides into a little bit larger rod to make it adjustable. So I took them both apart and had 2 smaller in diameter rods and 2 larger ones. Anyone still following?
    I trashed 1 of the smaller ones and broke the decorative end piece off the other small one.
    I spray painted them all a dark brown then put them back together with a big rod, then the little rod then another big rod.

    So I had a curtain rod with three pieces and it is plenty long enough to cover the window. I did use all of the brackets from both packs, so there is enough suport to hold the rod.

    Hope that makes sense 🙂

  6. Robyn- I put the tension rod (between the walls of the window) on a few. The others (larger windows) I used dental floss to tie the rod to the weird drape thing.
    The navel kadena home shop has good rice drapes- and the 100 yen store in that shopping center (by mcdonalds) has every length tension rod. Hope that helps!

  7. I live on kadena and I have some funky walls. The inner ones are made of something that’s not concrete or dry wall. I have given up trying to put curtains in my bedrooms after borrowing the super nice hammering drill from self help TWICE. It was just not drilling in no matter what I did. I know that I used the right bit. I have drilled other places and gotten it done fairly easy. I am going to try the 3m hooks. I was at the make man yesterday and spotted these cool bambo poles that would make excellant curtain rods. I am going to give that a try. In my living room I have about 7 sheers on my huge window. They block out the light nicely without making it too dark. If I would have known how much of a chore it is to hang curtains I def would have came to the island armed with an industrial strength drill!

  8. Does anyone know where I can find curtain rods? The PX only has decorative ones going to 44″ and I need them to 66″ for the long windows in Lester. I just want cute rods with holdbacks, not ones that pinch your curtain at the top or those ugly white generic metal rods. I can’t seem to find them anywhere! Thanks!

  9. I didn’t like the curtain look…so I bought tension rods at 100 yen- then put up the “rice drape” (also bought at 100 yen- I think it looks cool)…and then bought dark shower curtains ( the fabric kind- chocolate brown) and used the silver hooks (for shower curtains) as curtains. It doesn’t look like shower curtains- and it was way cheaper!

  10. Okay, so I’m still confused by everyone’s comments because our house isn’t drywall at all… Where do you find the extra long curtain rods for your windows, we live in Kishaba housing on Foster, and did the cement drill work in your house? How many panels did it take cover these really loooong windows? Thanks!!

  11. You can buy specific drill bits and screws for cement. I am currently in my third house here, and it took the first two to learn. If one of the administrators here will contact me and tell me how to submit a photo, I will show you the packaging for the screws and the bit. The hammerdrill probably didn’t work because he used the wrong bit.

    Once you use the right tool, it is really pretty simple.

    Also, in my current house I am using some really cool anchors that are specific for drywall…they just screw right in just like a screw, really simple.

  12. If you have curtains like sheers, etc. that don’t work well with drapery hooks, Jusco, San-A, and even some 100Y stores sell little hooks with clips on them. You can just loop the hooks into the sliding hooks that are already installed and use the clip part to grasp your curtain. Check in the curtain/drapery section of Jusco, and you’ll likely see a few types. They’re not expensive, and they work great. Drapery hooks w/ pinch pleat drapes work great in the existing hooks you have, too. (I love JC Penny’s selection of drapes – they have plenty of thermal-backed ones, which work really well to keep out the sun when you need it. Their clearance section is usually full of options at a very affordable price.) We just stored our curtain rods and used what’s there. Once you figure them out, you’ll probably like them!

  13. I buy regular curtains and then these hooks for the backs. The hooks, well hook through the fabric and then through the sliding hooks. You can get the hooks from JC Penney and on base. I have even recieved them from Pottery Barn with every set of curtains I have ordered.

    You can also buy curtains off base at any Jusco, San-A, or makeman. You can also buy some plastic hooks at these stores that clip onto the curtains. GL!

  14. I met a woman who used velcro and she said it worked like a charm. They sell the sticky backed utility velcro at the BX. I actually bought some just to put at the side of my window frames so the curtains in the bedroom would stay and keep the light out. We used a drill to hang up all of our curtain rods. You can buy cement drill bits offbase (sunsea/makeman/DIY) that work really well. We used ours to drill holes outside to hang our patio cover. But, it takes some effort. We’ve come to the conclusion that a electric drill with a cord would work a lot better than our battery operated drill. Hope this helps!

  15. I live in the Courtney towers, too. And have had a heck of a time hanging things. Half of our walls are cement – you can’t put a nail in them. The other half are like cardboard – nails just fall through them. When we do find studs, they feel like metal ones and we’re unable to put ANYTHING into them.

    I hung curtains in my daughter’s room on a curtain rod. A previous tenant had obviously tried to hang curtains there too, which had weakened the wall right next to the window to the integrity of papier-mâché. I wound up drilling my screws directly into the aluminum window frame (please wear safety glasses if you do this and be sure to clean up the area thoroughly and immediately as it does create little metal shavings). It worked perfectly, the curtain rod hangs there no problem and the curtains look great.

    As for the rest of the house, I found Command adhesive strips at the self-help store specially designed for picture-hanging and have used them throughout the house with great success!

    Good luck and happy hanging.

  16. My husband borrowed a hammer drill from Self Help, but still had a very difficult time getting any holes made in our walls. After a few failed attempts, I ended up getting the really big 3M Command hooks, and put up several over each window, then hung the curtain rods on those. It works like a charm, and because they’re easy to take down, there wasn’t any mess to deal with. Of course, the hooks are visible… but I’d rather have those than no curtains at all.

    We had tried the Japanese version of these, which require you to hammer these little metal pieces into the walls, but none of those stuck for us.

    And, like Kari, we used those 3M Command picture hangers for nearly everything we’ve hung on our wall. You can get them for free at Eagle Hardware (Self Help) on Kadena if you live there. I’m not sure about Foster or Courtney’s Self Help stores, but I’ve also seen them for sale at the BX.