On-Base Housing

I normally won’t post multiple blogs in a day, but you’ll have to cut me some slack for the time being – I have so much to share and if I don’t post now I’ll constantly be playing catch-up!

As I mentioned in my previous post, the ball got rolling a lot quicker than we expected once we arrived! Most everything on the island is done only on certain days…and much of that is done on Wednesdays. As we arrived late Wednesday night and therefore couldn’t do anything else (and as this was on the forefront on my mind after living out of suitcases for eight months) we went to the housing office first thing on Thursday to figure out where we’ll be living.

The last time I lived on base I was five years old…so you can imagine that I had no idea what to expect when we walked in the door. At best we hoped to be allowed off base. At worst we imagined another month or two in temporary lodging. Neither happened. An incredibly helpful woman explained to us that since the Air Force is trying to save money, we have to live on base. It wasn’t what we were hoping for (let’s be real – I was researching off-base housing since I discovered we were moving to Okinawa!) but we at least like one of the houses offered to us.

For those of you who don’t understand how on-base housing works, I’ll let you know. Essentially, you’re told what kind of housing you’re allowed to have. (As a married Captain with no children, Hoban rates a 2-bedroom townhouse or single family house) Once they figure out what you rate, you’re given the keys to two units – only TWO. And then you have to pick one within 24 hours. If you say you don’t want either, your name is moved from the top of the housing list to the bottom and you aren’t offered another house until your name comes up again (so you pay – out of pocket – for your continued stay in a hotel)…which is why I’d never decline both options unless they were complete pits.

Thankfully we won’t have to worry about that. We were surprisingly offered two houses our first day on the island which is almost unheard of here – our own sponsors stayed in temporary lodging for more than a month before they got a house! The first home we looked at was a bit dingy – outdated, dark grey carpeting, bleak – it didn’t inspire much excitement. It was 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, with a large laundry room, an L-shaped kitchen, and living room. I’d say the only great things about the house were the size and the location – easy walking distance to the gym and across the street from the baseball fields. Still, I was praying for something better with house #2.

House #2 delivered. It still might not be what I would choose back in the States, but it is a thousand times less gloomy than house #1! It also is a 3 bed, 2.5 bath house. In fact, the house is almost identical to house #1 save for a few differences.

  1. The floor/carpeting/finishes look much more recently updated (thank goodness)!
  2. There is no large laundry room. The laundry is essentially in a closet behind a pair of doors……
  3. ……but instead of a laundry room there is another decent sized room off the front of the kitchen! (Which I forgot to take a picture of – oops!)

Seeing as I don’t spend much time in the laundry room anyway, I’d much rather have the extra living space. We aren’t sure what we want to do with it yet but I guess we’ll have to think it over soon as we’re moving in this Saturday! I am SO excited to sleep in my own bed! Here is a view from the master bedroom.

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Master Bedroom ↓

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Master Bath ↓

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Upstairs Bathroom #2 ↓

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Bedroom #2 ↓

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Bedroom #3 ↓

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View of our Street (Aspen Court) from Bedroom #3 ↓

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Upstairs Hallway ↓

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Stairs ↓

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View from front door/staircase to the Living Room & Bathroom #3 ↓

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View from the front door/staircase into the laundry/kitchen ↓

(The extra room off the kitchen is to the left of this picture – but I forgot to get a snapshot!)

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View #2 of the Kitchen from the Living Room (the cut-out over the sink looks into the extra room)↓

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Living Room  (as seen from the kitchen) ↓

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Backyard/Patio ↓

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We will be living in a townhouse and we have an end unit. That means much more grass to mow, but it also means that we have some walls that aren’t shared with the neighbors – which makes me more than willing to mow a bit more! The house is still very close to the gym and is only about five minutes from the BX and commissary – and less than ten minutes for Hoban’s commute to work! I’ll post more pictures once we are all moved in!

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Shogun Inn

We arrived on Okinawa almost a week ago and I can’t stop pinching myself! I didn’t realized I’d have so much to share and yet in six days we’ve already found a house, bought phones, looked at cars, seen the squadron, checked out parts of town, made sushi, gone on two dives, been snorkeling, and have spent time at the beach. I guess a good place to start would be the beginning.  🙂

Our flight from San Francisco was rather uneventful. The woman checking us in for our flight tried to help us out by giving us exit row seats. Normally I’d be thrilled to have all that leg room on a super long flight……but when the exit row is right by the bathrooms, all that “leg room” just becomes a continuous line of people waiting their turn. So, while it wasn’t ideal, we really did have extra space. Sometimes. The same cannot be said for the poor man next to me who had the inflatable emergency slide in front of his knees! I think he had less space than everyone else on the flight. We also (unfortunately) had an incredibly old plane and therefore couldn’t control what we watched. While The LEGO Movie and Monuments Men were shown (and both were fantastic), I spent the remainder of the flight reading Les Misérables and trying my hardest to stay awake. (I really wanted to get ahead of the jet lag!)

We touched down in Tokyo with almost two hours before our connection to Okinawa. My overall impression was that Tokyo’s Narita Airport is the quietest International hub I’ve ever been in! I honestly felt so self-conscious talking that Hoban had to ask me repeatedly to speak up. It was also very clean and very well organized. Going back through security was a breeze – I didn’t even have to remove my shoes! A receipt is printed for you at security that has your flight, gate, and seat number printed on it – which is really great since I didn’t need to pull out my ticket and chance dropping it each time I wanted to make sure I was going the right way! I definitely would love to have that in the States.

Our flight to Okinawa was fairly short and the view of the island from the air was incredible. There are almost no lights on the Northern part of the island except for the coastline – I wish I’d had my phone or a camera on me so that I could have taken some photos! After grabbing our bags, we were picked up from the airport by a guy in Hoban’s new squadron. He took us to our temporary lodging at the Shogun Inn on base where we met our sponsor’s wife (our sponsor was gone for work). She had stocked the kitchenette for us and left laundry detergent as well – which was super thoughtful and amazing! Our hotel has a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and small living space. Check it out.

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It’s basic, but it’s also very clean – and more room than we need considering we’ll only be here for a grand total of 10 nights before we move into our new home! Check out my next post to see our new digs!  🙂