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I can't begin to tell you all how incredibly excited I am to finally get an assignment in Japan after 14+ years of seeking one in the military! I'll be stationed at Yokota (1st choice!) and reuniting with friends from college, it's gonna be great. Still I know there's a lot I don't know about living there, so I'm seeking any advice from those who've lived in Japan: especially those who've been stationed at Yokota. I'm in my 30s, lived overseas (UK) before, and traveled to Japan a few times so I've got some idea of what to expect, but I won't be insulted with basic cornerstone advice. While I'm not (yet) fluent, I've got enough conversational and reading comprehension in Japanese to get around solo, read directions, and depending on the topic hold my own in a conversation. I haven't received my orders yet (just verbal confirmation from my boss) but I'd expect a flexible reporting date sometime this summer, nominally June. Some quick questions off the top of my head:
What can I expect for off-base housing options? I'm sure the Family Readiness Center will have a lot of info, and I'll give them a call next week, but big-picture what can I expect as far as size, location, and other sorts of pitfalls?
I'm totally enamored with the idea of living in an older home, but my first winter in England really taught me the downsides to rustic living. Are more traditional homes even an option in that area? If they are, how inconvenient are they compared to apartment living?
I've got some nice wooden furniture, but after seeing the size of my friends' houses I don't think I want to bring them. Any experience with long-term storage? Particularly with the military?
I know I won't be able to bring my gun collection, what are some ways I should consider storing them? Is it possible/desirable to store them in the same place I end up storing the furniture? Storing them with my family is an option, but I'm not really excited about that for reasons I don't want to get into.
I've heard that knives are also illegal, but I'm pretty sure that I've seen a lot of stores and stalls that sell them. I'm not particularly attached to these knives, but I don't want to get rid of them if it's not necessary. What's the truth data?
What kinds of things might be more difficult or expensive to buy in Japan? I know clothing is expensive, and I'm a big boy at 6' 220 lbs, so I'll probably update my wardrobe before I leave.
I've got a 2008 Mustang that I've done my own maintenance on. I would consider selling it, but I'm a little hesitant about doing so because it's starting to creek and shudder a bit (I think I need to replace the front control arms) and I wouldn't want to leave that with someone. I'm not sure I can spare the time to replace those right now. What are my options? Would it be more profitable to take it to a dealer or certified mechanic for a full diagnostic and repair, or should I just sell it back directly to the dealer? Alternatively I'm not in need of the money so I could be convinced to donate it to some sort of trade school, but I have no idea where I would even start with that.
Speaking of transportation, I've got dreams of riding my bike to work, holding a piece of toast in my mouth, potentially starting a romantic relationship with someone I accidentally collide with, etc. How easy is it to get around with just a bike?
I know I can run my appliances without needing a converter, but willsmart home technology (specifically Echo, a My Cloud server, and a robot vacuum) have any problems being in the wrong region? I'm an old now and don't understand how these things work.
I've also got an iPhone; should I bring that and unlock it or just plan to buy a new phone there? What are my options for international service: I expect I'll be traveling a bit between Japan, Korea, and Hawaii, and I feel like phone technology and service has changed a lot since I was last overseas.
I think I'm pretty well versed on how region coding works with blu-rays and my video game systems: Switch, & PS4 should be the same region as Japan right? What about service? Do I need to buy Japanese service?
How does internet service work over there? Is it still pay by the minute? What about mobile data?
My other big hobby is Warhammer, and I know that's a thing over there too. I doubt this is the case, but are there any weird gotcha's with paint or airbrushing? Like, I would feel really stupid if my stuff was confiscated because alcohol-based thinner is illegal or something. What about hobby supplies? I've been to a few hobby stores in Tokyo, but is it difficult say to find a hardware store there for boards and insulation foam?
I'm going to do my own research as well: I just picked up a bilingual book called the Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan 2nd edition. But I'm ready for your stories and advice. And if you're near Tokyo and going to want to play some Warhammer 40k or Kill Team in about 6 months give me a shout.