Today, the military offered us an apartment on our assigned base pictured above, near a town called Urumua-shi on the northeastern side of the island. It is a bittersweet moment in the process of getting settled. On one hand, it’s wonderful that we have a place and the ball is rolling. On the other, it’s disappointing that we were essentially forced to take it, and not granted the option to live off-base as we had hoped.
Earlier this week, we inadvertently tortured ourselves by visiting a few rentals off base, in the scenic and lively Yomitan-son area of the island that I have decided to fall in love with. Since we don’t have children and I am generally not involved in traditional military spouse activities, I figured we would enjoy the more independent lifestyle and cultural immersion that living off base would offer. Blissfully unaware of the intensity of the mandate to live on-base, I booked an appointment with an adorable agent named Reiko. My expectations were low, but I was blown away by the places she showed us that day. There was one apartment in particular that was just beautiful – and you could walk out on the balcony from every room!
The best I can say about our apartment on base is that it is recently renovated and reasonably spacious. Otherwise, it’s the same dull, no-personality utilitarian fare that I have come to expect of military housing (with a little extra mold I asked the Housing Office to take care of.) I am concerned that I will find base living rather suffocating, but it may not be so bad. We are right near the gate, outside of which a lovely Japanese residential area with a river walk begs to be explored. I have decided to purchase a bike and see what Uruma-shi has to offer. It doesn’t look as dynamic and cross-cultural as Yomitan-son, but it is more authentically Japanese! And really… Yomitan is only about a 20-25 minute drive west 🙂
Disclaimer: Photos are not my own. I will take far better ones of the area and of the beach… just wait 🙂
Sorry you can’t live off base, but a bike will be great. We are Ina German-American dinner club, which is a lot of fun. We have dinner with locals once every two months at a different restaurant it’s been a fun way to learn about traditional food, festivals, and local events. Maybe they have on? All the best adventurin. Xx
That would be awesome! Hopefully I can find something like that 🙂 Most definitely a bike too. I’m so glad you are on WordPress! I don’t want to lose touch with you.
I couldn’t agree more with your title of this post.
Jessica, Turquoise Compass
Ugh, that is one of my biggest concerns about Oki — I would definitely want to live off base, too. But, having said that, we lived on base at the Naval Academy and it was a great experience. We loved our neighbors and our apartment. I hope you have great neighbors, too! I also think it’s sorta what you make of it, as far as the suffocating aspect. From what I’ve heard, some people basically never leave the base ever, which I think would get really old really fast. If you take the time to explore and maybe also meet some people who live in other areas, that will probably help a lot! Plus, at least this way you know you’ll live near other people who speak English and can more easily access the exchange and commissary and such.
You are completely right! I don’t want to knock it too aggressively. I’m not the type to stay in the bubble anyway 🙂 This way is actually far more straightforward.