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Importing pets...180 day quarantine...hearing and reading conflicting information, and looking for some recent experience...

Can you "quarantine" on base if you are in base housing?

Can you "quarantine" in your home/apartment off base?

If so is this officially written anywhere?

Had people and stateside vets say its possible and often done, but reading the Japanese import websites and the army vet site, they specifically say you can't. Any information would be great...don't want the pets sitting in a small cage for several months once they get there.

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yes to on base, no to off base. And your quarantines starts the day you get your pets' blood drawn for the rabies test. My cats 180 day quarantine was served entirely in CONUS before I PCS'd. The Japanese vet site is accurate.

http://www.kadena.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=16520

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Pcsing to Kadena in November. Headed to the 909th. Anything new to add since the last post in 2012. How's the curfew thing work? Enforced heavily?

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No curfew per se, and off-base drinking is severely limited. On base you can booze it up wherever. Rumors are it will soon get relaxed, but don't get your hopes up. It won't last long if it does.

As far as enforcement goes there are "courtesy" patrols looking to get folks in trouble, but they patrol the most obvious locations. Stay smart.

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Any new gouge on Kadena these days? Just found out that I will likely be heading that direction early next summer. Are they still enforcing the 100% on-base housing rule or would it even be worth it to look off base for a single family house for the family?

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Pretty strict on keeping housing above 96%.  Most people who live on base seem to be happy about it.  I've seen folks pay out of pocket to move on and off base, so it's a mixed bag.  In terms of location and square footage you will likely be better off on base, as most the Japanese places we looked at were fairly small or very expensive, above the OHA, or far from base.  If you want to go of base you can drag your feet reporting in to housing until the occupancy rate exceeds 96% (if it is close).  You get 10 days or so in TLF before they stop paying.  They will fill on-base requirements based on the day you reported to base, but they may work with you if it's above 96% and enough people want on base.  That's what we did...showed up after they said 96% and a lot of families were looking to get on base, so they let us off.

I lived off base, and it was nice...but to be honest I would likely choose to go on base if I were to go back based on the high likelihood of the drinking restrictions returning and the large amount of "Yankee taxes" I paid to live off base.

Edit:

some downsides of living on base are slow internet and power outages during frequent typhoons.

Edited by drewpey
additional info

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Pretty strict on keeping housing above 96%.  Most people who live on base seem to be happy about it.  I've seen folks pay out of pocket to move on and off base, so it's a mixed bag.  In terms of location and square footage you will likely be better off on base, as most the Japanese places we looked at were fairly small or very expensive, above the OHA, or far from base.  If you want to go of base you can drag your feet reporting in to housing until the occupancy rate exceeds 96% (if it is close).  You get 10 days or so in TLF before they stop paying.  They will fill on-base requirements based on the day you reported to base, but they may work with you if it's above 96% and enough people want on base.  That's what we did...showed up after they said 96% and a lot of families were looking to get on base, so they let us off.

I lived off base, and it was nice...but to be honest I would likely choose to go on base if I were to go back based on the high likelihood of the drinking restrictions returning and the large amount of "Yankee taxes" I paid to live off base.

Edit:

some downsides of living on base are slow internet and power outages during frequent typhoons.

Very few power outages and internet is fine on base.  All power on base is either underground or going there soon - off base that is not the case.  Power has not gone out a single time due to a typhoon for me in two years, considering some of the wind that is rather amazing.  Internet company is running new fiber basewide.  I stream Netflix and anything else I want with no issues.  The houses are old but you will get more space on than off for your OHA.  Also, traffic can be a huge pain and gate 4 is closed, so if you work on the North side plan accordingly - gate 1 or 3 are likely your only/best options.

Liberty policy for Okinawa is the same as the rest of Japan now, changed in January I think.

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I think you get 20 days or so when you go OCONUS, but I can't remember. 

I tried scanning the JFTR but couldn't find anything that applied.  When I pushed them for an answer I was told it was the Kadena Sup to some random lodging regulation that was conveniently not posted on E-pubs.  Kadena/PACAF likes to make up their own rules regarding travel, and its never in favor of the traveler.

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I tried scanning the JFTR but couldn't find anything that applied. When I pushed them for an answer I was told it was the Kadena Sup to some random lodging regulation that was conveniently not posted on E-pubs. Kadena/PACAF likes to make up their own rules regarding travel, and its never in favor of the traveler.

There is no hard limit on days of permitted TLA allowed under the JFTR.

That doesn't stop housing offices everywhere from threatening service members into housing that is unsuitable or claiming"if you don't fake this you have to pay till something else is available." Usually they have as you said some obscure SOP which requires some level of memo to get an exception to policy. Unfortunately they are often way to successful in scaring some young E5/O1 into towing the party line and spending 3 years cramming his family into a 900 square foot closet 40 minutes from post which is charging him 3x the OHA they would charge a German/Korean/etc because they know your rank and what your entitled too.

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I tried scanning the JFTR but couldn't find anything that applied.  When I pushed them for an answer I was told it was the Kadena Sup to some random lodging regulation that was conveniently not posted on E-pubs.  Kadena/PACAF likes to make up their own rules regarding travel, and its never in favor of the traveler.

So much this.  Make them show you the reg.  Kadena's other favorite is "it's in the SOFA".  Usually it's not.

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Does anyone have any information on the details of what it is like to live in Okinawa without command sponsorship for a wife?  I've heard a few different things on the SOFA status, everyone in the AF says she would not get it, but i've read some things online that she would because I am stationed there and we are married regardless of PCS orders.

 

Thanks for the help.

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This sounds like a commercial for Bad Idea Jeans.  You need to get her added to your orders.  If she failed the medical/dental screening, DON'T BRING HER.  Talk to your chain and get a different assignment if it comes to that.  If she goes without SOFA status/being on your orders: no Japanese driver's license, no married rate OHA, no school for your kids if they lack sponsorship and so on.  That said 18th Wing JAG is your relevant expert on the SOFA.  Good luck.

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I'm asking for help from anyone familiar with Kadena off base living and the EZBillpay system for paying utilities.  A buddy of mine is trying to assume my VA mortgage stateside but the Bank wants proof of 2 alternate trade lines (cell, water, electric, car insurance etc.) with actual due dates from the company showing that he has paid on time and doesn't have any late fees. It seems that he has never seen a bill from a utility company (even if it is in Japanese) because he pays EZBillpay to take care of it. US Bank still wants this information to close on the home, but wont simply accept the EZBillpay statements as proof since it just shows that the bill was paid, but won't verify on time or not.

1) Can he call the utility companies and get the receipts in English or Japanese, I don't care if US Bank has to translate them. 

2) Does the housing office check this kind of thing when you outprocess back CONUS and could they provide a memo that might be helpful?

3) I would think the EZBillpay would be able to provide a copy of this as well, but I'm not sure I have never been OCONUS do they keep track of that information?

4) Any other quick fixes would be appreciated it seems that without debt payments, and many additional lines of credit he has to show proof, but we don't have time to piggyback of off another credit card or someone else's utility bills we need to close ASAP. 

 

All help if appreciated. 

 

Flyguy

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Just found out I'll be headed to Kadena early next year.  I would appreciate any/all current info on life over there, and how to navigate an OCONUS move.  I have a few specific questions:

1.  HHG - I know I'll get the brief on how this works, but I have it in my mind to sell or give away pretty much everything and start from scratch when I get there.  What I have now barely fills a 1br apartment, so there's not much to get rid of.  Alternatively, is it better to just ship it all and get reimbursed for whatever gets lost or stolen?

2.  Electronics - will my stuff (laptop, stereo) work with just a socket adapter?

3. Housing - Having been TDY there once before, the apartments on the sea wall right by final approach into the airfield look awesome.  Are these affordable at O-3/O-4 housing rates?  Are they worth the daily traffic jams?

4. Finances - Any recommendations on how to access my money without getting charged foreign transaction fees?  Do most places take Visa or Amex?

5. Personal documents - Single, 0 dependents, so I'm thinking of getting a safe deposit box in CONUS near trusted family and keeping it all there while I'm gone.  Anything to watch out for with this plan?

Thanks in advance for anything anyone has to offer.

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1. I wouldn't, furniture and everything else is expensive there.  If it won't fit through a standard single US door it may be worth storing.

2. I had no issues with any US electronics.

3.  Seawall is about as easy as an off base drive gets.  0-3/0-4 housing rates will get you a very livable space, even single.  Start googling housing agencies, you can get an idea of what those spaces will look like.  Your unit/sponsor can recommend more.  I used Tokuzato housing back in the day.

4.  It was very yen centric but I didn't have many issues with declined cards or too many transaction fees.  Not sure of your bank situation but hopefully they've embraced digital wallets out that way or you can use the ATM as required.

5.  We hand flew the irreplaceable stuff and shipped the rest.

Have fun out there!  We would go back in a heartbeat.

Disclaimer- All information is from 11-15.

 

Edited by AFsock
Speeling

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HHG - Japanese movers are awesome.  If stuff gets broken it will most likely be when it's getting packed in the States.

Most electronics should be fine, (Japan is 100V) and your laptop adapter should say 100-240V (double check).  I think TVs may have issues, so heads up on that, but you can get a transformer.  Only a factor off base.

I would highly recommend living on the sea wall.  It's awesome and generally the traffic wasn't bad (10 minute commute or so).  You can walk to little bars and sushi restaurants.  I was able to pocket about $400 a month out of my utilities that I didn't use.  Easy to go for runs along the sea wall and the sunsets after work while you're eating dinner is pretty cool.

I would find a card that doesn't have a foreign transaction fee.  I don't remember how I paid my rent (I think GI Bill Pay or something?)  You can get Yen on base easily and there's no reason to get a Japanese bank.  I imagine contactless pay with an iPhone is full up there too.

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Don't forget to dust off your dive gear and get a rehack. If you don't dive, better start. It is seriously some of the best scuba diving in the world there and I've never seen such dirt cheap prices on equipment and certs as when I was at Kadena. Water is warm year round and visibility is amazing. If you've ever thought of starting the hobby I would recommend picki g it up while youre at Kadena. The dive shop at Torii Station is legit. 

Seriously jealous, I would love a PCS to Okinawa. Nothing like doing a full day of diving them cozying down for the night to a bowl of pork ramen. Nothing else like it. 

Edited by FLEA
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Surge protector for the TV for sure. 

The apartments you were referring to are in the ¥200,000 to 280,000 range. O-3 gets you around ¥207,000/mo. plus you get several hundred for utilities that can go towards the difference.

Agree with pilgrim, no need for a Japanese bank or the one on base for that matter. Look into the Amex platinum/Hilton cards if you don’t already have them.

Some places take card some don’t. I always keep around 100 bucks worth of yen on me.

You can find cheap cars in the lemon lot and off base but you’re going to have to pay cash so be ready to take out 3K plus out of the atm (the atms on base only allow $500/transaction so it takes a little while). Get smart on how road tax/JCI works here before you buy (your sponsor will know).

Also, you’re going to need to pay around 5-7K to get into your apartment (at O-3 pay you’ll pay first months rent ~2K + ~2K security deposit + ~1K agent fee + some possible other move in fees) and that is all in cash (this from all my bros’ and my own experience) so know how to change you’re withdrawal limit in your card. The good news is everything is reimbursed by housing except the security deposit. 

Not all apartments allow American appliances (W/D, stove, fridge) so keep that in mind. Japanese appliances are most likely not what you want. The good news is you can get the American appliances from base for free.

PM me with other questions.

Edited by Boomer6

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15 hours ago, wazzuPIC said:

4. Finances - Any recommendations on how to access my money without getting charged foreign transaction fees?  Do most places take Visa or Amex?

Japan is getting better about taking credit card but it's still common to run into cash only (or cash + IC card) places and some bills you may only be capable of paying cash for. Visa is taken more places than Amex. 

I would suggest a Charles Schwab checking account for your debit card. 0 foreign transaction fees, unlimited atm fee reimbursement, and great customer service. Don't use on base atms. You'll get a better exchange rate at any 7/11, familymart, etc. Adds up to a $20 difference everytime you pull out cash for rent. 

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5 hours ago, FLEA said:

Don't forget to dust off your dive gear and get a rehack. If you don't dive, better start. It is seriously some of the best scuba diving in the world there and I've never seen such dirt cheap prices on equipment and certs as when I was at Kadena. Water is warm year round and visibility is amazing. If you've ever thought of starting the hobby I would recommend picki g it up while youre at Kadena. The dive shop at Torii Station is legit. 

Seriously jealous, I would love a PCS to Okinawa. Nothing like doing a full day of diving them cozying down for the night to a bowl of pork ramen. Nothing else like it. 

Arashi’s garlic rice or CoCo’s.

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Look into GIPay (spelling?) service next to USO.  This agency will pay all of japanese utility bills. Extremely useful. 

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