Atsugi Japan - BOQ was very nice. Limited parking depending on the airwing schedule. BOQ is very clean, three computers available in the lobby, walking distance to the flight line. Flight plan filing is done at Japanese base ops. Great Japanese take-out restaurant just outside the main gate. Go through the security area and it's on the same side of the street across the intersection.
Iwakuni MCAS, Japan - If you can avoid Iwakuni, do it. TA is slow, trans sucks, and the Q's are usually uncomfortable. There is an OK snack bar in the terminal, hours are anybody's best guess. The nearest city is Hiroshima so you can see the "Peace park", once is enough. The Sagura theater is FREE and shows first run movies. The new Eagles Nest is pretty nice, you can drink and play slots. The NEX is worth the cursory "shelf-check", highly encouraged because the cable sucks. Standard Navy hijinks with Officers and enlisted. They will usually stick you in the VOQ, not main billeting. Put off begging for better quarters as long as possible because it's useless to try. Oh, no DSN in the rooms. For AC's get ready for the walk to billeting to call the TTF or TACC. If you order your crew bus through a local, you wont get what you want. They have major contract problems. Talk to a Navy guy, ask for Chief Dougherty, he will help you. Iwakuni is one of those places you don't want to break at. ~Chicken Shack (or San Zouku, which means The Robbers Den): This is one place that everyone talks about here. There is a lot on the menu besides chicken, but the chicken is probably the best value there. The atmosphere is the neat thing about this place. There are several areas to eat; you can eat indoors at the low Japanese tables, or at tables outside on the hillside, with a stream, waterfalls, paper lanterns, etc. There is at least one aircrew taxi now... ~Kintai Inn (Main Billeting) was Super! I read your gouge concerning Iwakuni before I left on a trip there. Needless to see, your review paints a pretty dim picture. I have to say though, the rooms were awesome! All the rooms we had were the regular VOQ rooms and they were like suites. A huge TV in the living room. A TV in the bedroom. A lot of channels on the tube (the most I have ever seen at an oversees location). A big kitchen. The best part, new computers in every room with internet access for FREE!!!!! These were definitely the best rooms I have ever seen on a Navy/Marine base and rivaled many of the top AF facilities. The only edge going to the free computers in the room. The Eagle's Nest was good. Great hours and great food a cheap prices. The only problem we had was trying to store weapons and classified. You would think no AMC crews had ever come through there before. Trans was great. NEX was great. I only wish we had more time off so we could get up to Hiroshma to see the sites.
~I read the gouge before I left, so I decided to call ahead for rooms. Since it's a Marine base I told them we had 3 O-4's and 3 E-7's (Not a lie, just a guess) under my name for reservations and they put us all together. (They did ask for rank when I made the reservations, so I assume it makes some difference, but they didn't care at check-in) Nice size rooms with HI speed internet access (PC included) in some rooms. For dinner, we went off-base to a Sushi bar. Great food and service, the name escapes me, but it's out the gate, down to the '4 corners' and to the right. It's about 50yds (if that) on the right. Ask at the desk, they were very helpful. Don't expect lights or signs or anything else, just a traditional Japanese banner over the front of the door, but it's nice. (We walked past it the first time.) They have English menus and the prices are reasonable. (I went crazy buying Sake and Kirin for the crew plus loads of sushi for about $45) Enjoy
Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan - O'club has excellent brunch starting at 1000 on Sunday. You get free pizza on Tuesday, and free "Chicago style dogs" (Really mini weeners, about half normal size hot dogs) on Wed. Of course Friday night still rocks with all the regular chicks there hanging out. 14$ for a 30 day temp membership is well worth it. ~When in Kadena with a short layover, try eating at The Four Seasons Steak House. Excellent lunch specials and good local beers too. Cooked right in front of you at a reasonable price to boot. Open daily from 1130-2300. One block from there is the Tiger Embroidery shop. They make flight patches of all sorts which can be mailed worldwide. Command post sells the old MAC purses, $10 ea, the inserts cost $2 ea. ~Okay, I have figured out all the places you do not want to stay at Kadena. The Sunabe is family style living, 8 to a room, enough said. Morimar near Tori Station isn't bad, but it is 3 bedrooms and a community living area, great for parties. Airway Inn near Naha is a 30 minute ride and as tiny as a room can get. The bathroom would be outdone by a airline bathroom. Rooms are hot and air kicks off when you pull your key out of wall. Not suitable for crew rest at all. Sunrise is borderline acceptable, across the street from Tigers and a 10 minute walk to the USO. the rooms were great compared to the above places we stayed at later on. Kadena is notorious for having bad, and I mean bad, ATOC/Pax terminal support. I don't think I got a load on time and in correct order at all in a month of flying in and out of there. Command post will routinely not answer their radios, and no one meets you in parking despite a 2 hour out cal, 30 minute call and on the ground call. Customs is the same.
Misawa AB, Japan - The sign at the Misawa Inn says "best in PACAF" but it should also say "Slowest in PACAF." We faxed ahead to get billeting and when we showed up they tried to put us off-base (after they lost our reservations) but there was nothing to be had so they put us up in the TLF's which at Misawa are spread all over the base and the one we stayed at was in one of the base housing areas. If you are here more than a day or two you'll want on-base. The TLF's are three-bedroom houses (scheduled for demolition) with full kitchen but on the whole not to bad. FYI, you can't dial DSN from the TLF's so call 226-9899 to get a phone patch. Food-wise there are a few places right out the main gate but if you are stuck on-base the Cafe Moketeki (located inside the community center) is open 24 hours and has a good selection of food and full coffee bar. If you get off-base, park at the BX and walk, it's not far. Once out the gate, veer right down the alley where you'll find the famous Stagger Inn. Good pizzas and beer, there's a "mug club" which means cheaper beer and a mug you eventually keep. Also there is the Cheese Roll and Noodles which is farther down from the Stagger and is supposedly good. Trans was good to us but the vehicles were a little different. It looked like a standard small Japanese pickup truck but the shifting was different. It was a stick-shift with the shifter on the steering column instead of on the floor. Lastly, if you break here, call Outdoor Rec for information on local skiing.
Yokota AB, Japan - This place rocks. First of all, if you stay on base the per diem is about $40. However, if they let you stay in Tachikawa, the perdiem is about $125. Not a bad deal. On top of this, the Tachikawa Palace Hotel (042-527-1111) is a fully western hotel located near a major train station that has two department stores/malls adjacent to it. These places are filled with awesome restaurants and shops (great Asian food as well as food for the typical uncultured American). The service is incredible at this place and bathrooms feature, check this out, a bidet. I was expecting a tiny room but it surprised me with its spaciousness. ~We deploy here often and here is the scoop. Communist Gyoza, AKA Gyoza Heaven, is located near the train station at Tachikawa, get a Tachikawa map from the Yujo Rec Center, take the train and look for the shake and 3 fries symbol for Tachikawa station. Called the Communist due to strict no doggie bag rules, great gyozas, like dumplings. Next place just outside Fussa gate and to the right 4 blocks is a place we call Bruce Lee's Chinese, because he has a bunch of Bruce Lee posters. Great chinese. Yujo Rec Center has a bunch of tours,like climb Fuji and other awesome trips, book early. Outback, next to O'club has good food and beer, especially if you are staying in building 120,across the street. E'club has great pizza delivery.