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DoubleShot

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  1. Just PCS'd away from Kadena a couple weeks ago. 1. Second what everyone else says about the moving. I had a 2BR condo in Sunabe and it was plenty large for all my belongings coming from a 2BR place in the states. "American sized" places are more and more common. As with every PCS, it's a great opportunity to lean down the goods. The Oki Yard Sale groups on FB are great if you want to offload excess belongings at the destination. As for cars and space, I had a Subaru Legacy and had no issues geting around any small streets. In fact, a regualr sized car is a luxury when you're over 6 feet in Oki. But you'll pay extra taxes for it. A "yellow plate" or small Kei Car can be pretty clutch in tighter parking situations. Also, heads up, on driving...throwing on the flashers and stopping in the middle of the road to go hit up a vending machine is ops normal for the locals. 2. If you have a three prong plug, expect that it will not work in many outlets. There are "3 to 2" prong adapters at the exchange to make them fit the plugs. All my electronics, including LED TV worked just fine. The only thing that took a hit was the clock on the microwave lost time. 3. Having lived on the Sunbae Sea Wall for 3 years I can say that traffic gets slow at the 58 light, but that's about the extent of it. Leave your house 15 min earlier than your normal drive time and you'll mitigate that. I lived in a nice 2BR condo that was 180,000Y normally (in the neighborhood of 1st Lt pay) so my agency rolled in all my utilities except electric and raised it to meet the Capt's OHA (neighborhood of 200,000Y). Sunabe and Yomitan are the two best options for Kadena. It boils down to scenic agricultural and coastal views with a 20-30 min drive (Yomitan) or coffee shop/restaurant/sea wall/community with the homies on Sunabe. I recommend Sunabe. It's just easy. 4. USAA standard does a good job with fees. The Schwab account is also a good idea. I started to see a lot of Discover Bank accounts as well. Now as for credit cards and making your life easy: A) Have 5,000-10,000Y ($50-100) on you in cash at all times and you'll be golden. Most restaurants, small shops, and admittance for events are still cash only. Cabs, toll booths, FAMILY MART, airports, and larger restaurants all accept card. If card is taken, usually Amex is too. I never saw a place that was Visa/Mastercard only. B) Get the Amex Platty, then pocket that bish. Use it on your trips for travel perks back and forth and also huge purchases (purchase protection). It is NOT, however, a high performance points gainer. Now hear this...The best credit card for living overseas is the Chase Sapphire Preferred/Reserve series of cards. Period dot. You'll be able to stack points on all TDYs and locally on Oki since their bonus categories apply worldwide. Trip interruption insurance? Used it. Your bag went to China instead of Oki by accident? I got $100 a day for clothes from Chase till it showed up. Foreign transaction fees? Forget it. AND if you're a travel hacker, United/ANA is the DoD contract carrier of choice. Chase transfers directly to them 1:1. (Amex can as well if you go through an alliance partner like Air Canada). But I'd be remiss if I didn't give some props to Amex too. Finally, as of June 2019, Amex has loosened up on the Gold card and Grocery/Dining works overseas for points accrual too. At this point its your call, but I'd stick with Sapphire since it's a Visa. This is coming from a long time Amex lover. I have both the Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Gold. I found the Reserve more useful. YMMV. 5. I had everything with me including my Social Security Card and Birth Certificate. However, I think you'd be good with just your passports and other standard documents. I never touched either of those critical documents even once. I wish I had left them in a deposit box stateside as you suggested. Add ons: -Google Fi cell plan. Get it, love it. Port your number in from your stateside provider and don't look back. Let me tell you how perfect it is to have great reception stateside, land in Tokyo and resume trons, then land in Oki and have the same phone and setup. No sim card swaps, nothing. All fluid, all 4G fast at a constant billing rate, worldwide. Worked flawlessly in S Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia for me. Can't recommend enough. I used both the Pixel2 series (their home model) and an iPhone XS with great success. -Go get an account at apobox.com if you buy a lot of stuff online. It's a freight forwarder that (for a fee) will send you things that USPS refuses to mail. I used it for more expensive items, chemicals for rustproofing or flooring, etc. Hope this helps.
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