Moving Abroad, Part 2

First, I can’t believe I’ve been in Okinawa for a month. Of course, the first two weeks I spent in quarantine (otherwise known as restriction of movement or ROM). So I’ve only been free for two and a half weeks. And before I could do anything fun, COVID had to rear its ugly head again.

Okinawan sunset

If you haven’t heard (which I don’t know how since it was all over the American media), the Marine Corps in Okinawa has seen an outbreak in COVID cases. Not on my base, but two of the other bases here, which means we’re all back on restrictions.

I guess it makes sense. Summer is traditionally moving season for the DoD and moves have been ramping up. I’ve heard the DoD has 3 flights per week from Seattle to Japan (up from 1 flight per week) to meet the demand because the DoD had a travel ban until June 30. I had to get an exemption to travel before June 30.

And guess what. The increase in military travel to Japan coincided with the spike in COVID cases the U.S. So it only makes sense that some person (or maybe more than one) was infected, maybe asymptomatic.

Whatever the reason, COVID has once again caused me problems. But in a good-bad sort of way.

I had been staying at the WestPac Inns of the Corps, which is conveniently located right across the street from my work building. Well, last evening I was notified that I had to move because the powers that be decided that the WestPac will now only house ROM folks (i.e., people right off the plane).

So the bad is I had to pack up all my crap (somehow I’ve accumulated more than I came with), cram it all in my little Okinawan car (it just barely fit), and move it all to the Hilton. . . for only three days because I officially move into my new apartment on Friday (YAY!). (More on that later.)

Okay, so the Hilton part is the kind of good part. I don’t have an ocean view room and the room doesn’t have a kitchenette like my room in the WestPac did. But check out this shower.

love the rain-type showers

And the toilet/bidet with buttons. A weird automatic bidet-toilet in it’s own room, separate from the bath (as it should be).

The Hilton is in Chatan in an area called American Village. It’s a touristy kind of place with loads of restaurants and shops, most with some sort of American-theme or identity, or even an imported American restaurant. Red Lobster or Tony Romo’s anyone?

I’m not sure what Chocolate Jesus is. I saw the sign on the shop and thought huh. I’m not sure if Japanese think all American’s are Christian or if it’s meant to be pronounced more like the Hispanic hay-SOOS. And is it really about chocolate because I can get behind a deity that endorses chocolate. Regardless, that inquiry will have to wait as that shop was closed.

I also had to laugh at the “Always be yourse” sign (second row, second photo from left) because that looks intentional. Check out the spacing—it’s equal on either side. And there’s no indication of fading.

I also liked the #guts (bottom right). Hashtag GUTS with a little chicken on a star below it. Is it because it takes guts to eat fried chicken and sandwich? Or are chicken guts a part of the sandwich? Or is it an acronym with some yet unknown meaning? So many unanswered questions.

I later saw a person with this tee, Chocolate Jesus Coffee, so maybe it’s just a coffee shop, which will be disappointing. But I will investigate it later.

In addition to Tony Romo’s and Red Lobster, I’ve also seen McDonald’s, Starbucks, Burger King, A&W, Domino’s, and Baskin Robbins. I haven’t been to any of them yet (apparently A&W is popular with my office mates).

I probably will go to McDonald’s to at least see what the differences are. Like in the Philippines, McDonald’s serves spaghetti. So what fun menu item might I find here? Who knows? Maybe chicken guts. There’s also Coco’s and Lawsons, which apparently are both American brands that failed in America, but somehow survived in Japan. Go figure.

The one thing that has gone really well is my household goods move. The pick-up in Washington went great. Easy and no problems⁠—just the way I like it.

And then my stars aligned. I requested an apartment move-in date of Friday. Today, I went to pick up the lease (it had to be approved by the housing office). Right before I went to pick it up from the leasing agency, I received notice that my stuff had arrived and the earliest delivery date was . . . you guessed it, Friday.

Serendipitous indeed.

So Friday I will be moving from the Hilton into my new-to-me apartment. I’ve been told that Japanese movers are amazing. Not only do they have a crew of 5-6, not only will they tote the larger furniture up 7 flights of stairs (I’m on the 7th floor and there’s no freight elevator), and not only will they put the furniture together, they will actually take everything out of the boxes and then take all the empty boxes and packing material. I won’t have to do anything except put things in their spot. And I’ll have the weekend to do it. Plus, I’ll get to enjoy this gorgeous ocean view from my new balcony.

That’s right. This is my balcony and the view I will see every day. In fact, this view is the main reason I rented the apartment. Can you blame me?

And I think I saw my apartment building from American Village this evening.

I think that's my building. Or at least it's in that general area.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more as I’ll post a video of my Okinawan apartment.

お元気で (o-genki de = stay well)

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