What’s been happening in Okinawa [August 14 2012]

As most of you know I have not been making regular videos recently because of my recent trip. This has provided so many videos that I have not had the chance to post anything other than those videos and so I am not getting back into the swing of making videos.

So what has been happening here recently?

This weekend there were two very fun and exciting events that took place on the island. The first of these events was the 10000 Eisa Dance event which happened in Kokusai Dori down in the southern part of Okinawa. This is an event which happens once per year where dancers from all over the island come to perform. The event is amazing because the sheer number of dancers is outstanding. There are some negatives to this event which are the lack of parking and being that it is summer it is very hot. The best place to park, if you get there early, is the parking garage which is located in the immediate vicinity of the event however the price can be a bit expensive however, it is better than paying for a cab.

The other event which happened was the Ginowan City Festival. This is a fun event which happened every year at the Ginowan Convention Center. This year I did not go to this event but one of the fun things I was able to do was watch the festival’s closing fireworks which I could see from my house.

There were more things that happened this week check them out here:

*Voting On Tax Bill: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=12507

*Kinser Marine Denies Driving Drunk: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=12501

*Teen Prostitution Laws Violated By Man: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=12494

*Osprey Grounded. . . . For Now: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=12488

*Osprey A Threat To Endangered Species: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=12478

*US Enforces Futenma Move: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=12477

*Osprey Protest Postponed: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=12461

*Remains Found From Battle Of Okinawa: http://english.ryukyushimpo.jp/2012/08/08/7670/

For those of you who want to communicate within the JVLOG community forum style: http://jvlog.org/forum/

FMF: Puppies, Disney and More [August 10 2012]

I got a lot of questions that needed answering since I left for Tokyo and so here are the answers that I have for you guys.

I want to get a puppy but I don’t want to support puppy mills. What do you recommend?

There are a lot of different places where you can get puppies on the island. Eventually you are going to encounter some that are not necessarily the most legitimate. Although I do not have a full run down of what places are more legitimate than others here’s my thoughts. I have seen some good pet stores and some not so great ones. I have also seem some good breeders and others who are no better than puppy mills. In my opinion each puppy out there deserves a good home and it’s hard for me to turn away a puppy who looks like it wants love just because of where it came from. In my opinion if it’s healthy and if you want to love it go for it. Personally the dogs that I have gotten I got for free from people who were giving them away. That’s not to say that I would not purchase from anyone in particular but in my past experiences I have found puppies who needed a home at no cost.

How was the JetStar Flight Experience?

I very much enjoyed the experience. The only thing that I found irritating is that when I was in Narita we needed to get off the plane, get on a buss and then go to the terminal which then was the same case then getting on the jet on my way out. It wasn’t that it was a problem but like I mentioned in another review it would have been nice if someone would have notified us that this would be the way we would be getting on and off the plane so I could have prepared more manageable carry on items.

Can you do a video about certificate of eligibility?

When it comes to things that deal with legally getting here I prefer to not try and go into those details. This is because I want to make sure I am not giving out inaccurate information. My recommendation is to go through the authorities in these areas. Sorry for any inconvenience.

What is in natto? Is it fish?

No it is not fish. Natto is fermented soy beans.

Is it as nice as people say to travel on a plane throughout Japan?

Yes. It is very nice to travel throughout the country. The airlines are great even when the are discount airlines. They treat customers very well and the airlines are extremely clean (yes I have traveled on various airlines back and forth through Japan) and the airports are for the most part easy to use and user friendly.

76.47 US ? That’s expensive for one night for one person.

When traveling throughout Japan it is important to remember that the cost of items and services don’t change based on the strength of your local currency. When I first got here to Japan the yen rate was 140yen to the USD which was nice but when the US economy started to tank hat got less and less now we’re sitting at about 76 yen to the USD. Of course this doesn’t change the amount that people charge in Japan for a room (for example). I got my room at the Narita Rest Hotel for 5000 something yen for that one night which was extremely affordable considering that the average is 15,000 yen per night per person.

I’ve begun to use the little Google man to see how to get around.

I love the little google man. I use it all the time to determine where I need to go but unfortunately when I got lost trying to get to my hotel it as just trying to find the buss itself. The hotel was not necessarily in walking distance so I was supposed to get on a buss. Unfortunately I did’t know what bus number to get on and every time someone walked up to me asking where I needed to go they didn’t understand what it was I was talking about. This was frustrating but nonetheless when I called Russ he helped me find the bus number I needed.

From visiting both parks did you see a lot of Stich and Angel merch? Did you meet any characters other than the ones at Chef Mickey’s?

I did notice that there was a lot of Stich merch but not as much Angel. Also I did not meet any characters other than the ones at the character breakfast. I had the chance to but I didn’t want to wait in line or run up to a character and push a little kid out of the way. I had seen many characters in my day and I think every kid should have the chance to do the same.

I grew up near the original Disneyland in Anehiem and it’s a shame that other Disneyland locations seem much better.

I have never been to the original Disneyland but I spent a lot of time in Walt Disney World. I too think that it is a shame but I do think that t is good that there are still places where you can experience Disney the way it was meant to be experienced (in my honest opinion). For me Tokyo Disney is that place. It brings back memories of when I first experienced Disney with characters everywhere and everything Disney themed. I will be writing more about this later so stay tuned.

77 may be cold in Naha but is it cold in Tokyo?

To be completely honest 77 isn’t really cold in Naha but it is the lack of humidity which made it seem so cold for me. Now I do not believe that 77 is cold for Tokyo, in fact I think that it is rather warm for Tokyo because most of the people were in the area were dressed for summertime and looking very hot not to mention I couldn’t seem to find a good long sleeved shirt that was worth getting so I could stay warm.

How much does it cost to live in okinawa in USD?

This is a complicated question. It depends on a lot of factors on where you work, where you live and how you live.

How are the disney parks different from the ones in the US?

Tokyo Disney Resort is very similar to Walt Disney World 1994/5. There are characters everywhere even walking through the parks. There is also disney theming everywhere. I will be making an in depth post about this here in the near future so stay tuned for that.

Fashion On A Budget [August 3 2012]

I was recently sent a message by one of my Facebook Followers asking about getting some fashionable clothing on a budget. This is a great question and one that I am often asked.

The great thing about Okinawa is that it is a small island and therefore you can go to pretty much any shop on the island without having to make a huge trip out of it. The bad thing is that there is a chance (especially for those in the military or dod community) that someone else will have the same thing that you are wearing. This can be avoided with a little bit of creativity but we’ll get to that later.

So let’s get to the answer. There are a lot of places on the island where you can get clothes which are affordable two of the places which I prefer are San A and AEON. These two places have a lot of affordable options and they usually have a great deal of sales. Another place that I find some great options is UNICLO. They have a lot of good options as well including jackets in the winter time. Of course there are options which are more affordable than others in these places but with a little bit of time and a little bit of luck you can find what you are looking for.

Another place that I find a lot of fun clothing options at is called VILLAGE HOUSE which is in the American Village area. They have various types of clothing there for every different style. Another great thing about this place is that they have various sizes, styles and sales which fit every budget. This is also the place you can go to get some fantastic accessories at an affordable price.

Like I say for many things Okinawa is small, but with a little bit of time and effort you can get what you are looking for.

Finding A Job [August 2 2012]

I received a message from a viewer the other day which asked:

I’ve just recently made it to the island and want to find a job. Unfortunately, I lack professional attire. I’ve searched up and down the PX exchange type places on Kadena and Foster but they’re choices are slim and hideous. Would you happen to know of an affordable place to buy nice work attire off base? I live just off Foster in Chatan-cho but, I mean, the island is small so I wouldn’t mind driving. Any info you could give me would be AWESOME!

I thought that this was a great question and wanted to take a moment to write a blog post about this. Before we talk about getting the clothing which is appropriate for “business attire” here in Okinawa. There are two types of clothing which are acceptable business attire here. The first is a business suit, standard three piece. Usually these suits are black and pretty standard looking. These suits are usually worn in the winter months.
In the summer months here in Okinawa there are special shirts which looks similar to hawaiian shirts which are acceptable attire as a top with the standard bottoms of any other suit. They are usually worn to keep everyone cool and from having a few of my own they certainly work.
So where can you get these things? During certain parts of the year you can find sales on these suits at local department stores they can be affordable starting at 10000yen and going up from there. Of course there are also other places in the department stores where you can get these suits which are much more high end and are around year long. Like any other place where you can get a suit you can pick what you would like on your suit and the colors although they are almost always solid black or potentially solid dark blue.
There are also other stores where you can purchase these around the island to include some places which are right on Route 58. Of course there is then the question of being affordable. As I say for almost everything else here in Okinawa it depends on your definition of affordable. For the most part I usually say that if you need something now you will need to deal with your options.
There are some disadvantages to the business clothes that you see here in Okinawa, mainly that they are not as expressive as you might find in the US. The goal is not necessarily to stand out here in the work place and therefore you won’t find yourself able to find your bring flashy clothes like you would in the US.
So that’s basically all that I have on this topic to be completely honest. If you have any other questions please feel free to let me know and I will do my best to answer your question.

It Takes A Village [July 5 2012]

Today a post was made both here on the blog and over at the OkiNinjaKitty Channel. Here’s the video if you wanted to take a look:

Not long after the video posted a comment was made which asked me the following:

“Have you read Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes A Village”?? If so, do you think her theory that everyone is responsible for the village children would work in Okinawa? If not, would you agree that Okinawans “parent” their own children starting at home and do not expect the village to do the “parenting” out on the street or at the mall?”

This is a great question! I wanted to respond right away but because of the character limit on YouTube comments I took some time in order to organize my thoughts so I could summarize what I wanted to say all while fitting in the space provided. Then I realized. . . . I’ve got a blog I can use as much space as I need to answer and so here we are. Because there are a few different parts to this question I am going to take it piece by piece and hopefully it makes it easier to write about and communicate what I am trying to say.

“Have you read Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes A Village”??”

I unfortunately have not read the book “It Takes A Village” but I am very familiar with the concept that the book is said to discuss.

“If so, do you think her theory that everyone is responsible for the village children would work in Okinawa?”

The more that I examine this part of the question the more complicated my response becomes so hang in there with me for a moment here while I try to take what is in my head and communicate it with words that people other than myself will understand. In many ways I believe that this “it takes a village” theory is very much in place here in Okinawa but not necessarily in the way that we might envision it as Americans. What I mean by this is that here in Okinawa it seems as though the “village” is the family. Children are taken care of my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grand parents (it is Okinawa after all), aunts, uncles and other family members who may be part of the large family structure which seems to be common among Okinawa’s families. It is common for families to also do things together so in short there is always someone to keep their eye on the child. For example if you go to a local shopping center mom may be doing the groceries but the child is upstairs in the children’s area with grandpa. I have also known people who feel that their children are not quite well enough behaved to bring into public situations and therefore they choose to have a grandparent babysit while they are out and about.

Now I realize that depending on your views you may feel that this is not necessarily an illustration of the “it takes a village” theory but let me explain for a moment what brings me to feel as though it is. Based on the experiences that I have had with some of Okinawa’s families there is a lot for the children to learn within the family structure.   Discipline, recreation activities (playing, gardening, cooking) and how to conduct yourself in social situations all seem to be learned through interaction with different members of the family structure. This is enforced when the family comes together and eventually when families spend time in more social situations with outside groups (being in public). Each and every family member has something to offer and therefore this brings me to my observation that this theory is very much practiced here in Okinawa.

“If not, would you agree that Okinawans “parent” their own children starting at home and do not expect the village to do the “parenting” out on the street or at the mall?”

Even in the case of the family being the “village” yes I would agree that most Okinawans “parent” their own children starting at home. There is a certain level of discipline that the child must have before going to a grandparent’s house so that the grandparents are not burdened. There will eventually be another level of discipline that a child must have before going into public/social situations so that others are not burdened. Remember people in Okinawa are relatively non-confrontational and have a certain respect for the people around them. If there is something that they as a parent do not feel is acceptable the prevent it from happening, even if it means removing a child from a situation completely, before a stranger has to mention it to them.

As always I do need to stress that there are people out there, as there are anywhere else, who do not have the same feelings towards respecting others and avoiding confrontation. for the most part, however, they seem to be far and few in-between. There is always an exception to every rule. With that being said I hope that I was able to offer an answer to this question. If there are any other ares that you feel I need to clarify on please let me know.

 

Kids WIll Be Kids: Being in Public [July 5 2012]

This is not a rant nor is this an anti-child proclamation or how you can be a better parent so if you happened to see the title of this post and thought to yourself that this would be the perfect place to spew your frustration please take a moment and relax before proceeding on. For the rest of you who are reading this because you are wondering about what to expect when you make your way over to Okinawa I apologize for the blunt introduction.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way let me explain why I am writing this post and what you can expect from the content. I was recently asked a question from a reader who had previously read a post where I explained that here in Okinawa we use out indoor voices even when we are outside. She explained that she has a young child who enjoys yelling, running and playing and wanted to know whether or not people in Okinawa would actually get angry at this occurring. In this post I am going to offer my observations both from what I see, what I have experienced speaking with various people from Okinawa and Japan. Before we begin there are a few things that I want to make clear that may give you a bit of perspective from where I am coming from. I have been working with children and their parents for over 12 years now. The fact that children can be difficult is not lost on me but neither is the fact that nothing is impossible with a lot of hard word, consistency and dedication. Again this is not a parenting guide, all I am offering is words of encouragement for those out there who might be reading this feeling like ever gaining control of their child is helpless. The second thing to make clear is that I am offering your real life answers to your questions. I’m telling it how it is. If you are looking for someone who is going to tell you that even if your child hurls food across a restaurant regularly you should still take them out because the staff and other people won’t mind this is not going to be the post for you. Finally I ask that, as I do for all my posts, you read this with an open mind and an understanding that when coming to Okinawa you are entering an entirely different culture. Regardless if we are talking about children, food or driving in your car some changes to the way you look at things are ultimately going to have to be made. As always my goal here in to inform so that you don’t have any surprises. I hope that you find this post beneficial and of course if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to leave them in he comments or email me at okininjakitty@yahoo.com.

“Using Indoor Voices” 

As I had said in the post that I had listed above it is common practice for people to use their indoor voices throughout Japan, even when outside. Let’s talk a little bit about this. American’s are loud, there’s no way around it. The kids are loud, the adults are loud the cars are loud. . . . . we’re loud. In Japan, and particularly Okinawa this is not the case. It’s quite here which is why you see me say that using your indoor voice is “common practice” and not “common courtesy”.  Again (I know I have talked about this in other posts but for the sake of ensuring I am consistent) it is about the culture. This is a laid back relaxed quiet culture and does take some adjustment when you come here. There is also a different attitude when it comes to being out in public places (which we will get into here in a bit so keep reading). Some places are for relaxing, some places are for conducting business and other places are for having fun. A great deal of consideration is taken by all people to ensure that you are able to relax, conduct business or have fun at these various facilities and therefore I believe it is safe to assume that everyone, including foreigners, have the same type of consideration when out in public.

“Kids will be kids” 

It’s no surprise to me, or to anyone else in my honest opinion, that kids have their moments. After all they are still learning how to handle themselves in public situations, control their emotions and overall function as a part of society. There are going to be up’s and down’s and yes from time to time dreaded center of the aisle tantrum. That’s life. Are the people here in Okinawa going to get angry with you? To be honest this completely depends on how you handle the situation as a parent. Again, it’s a different culture here and therefore some of the parenting techniques that are acceptable in the US may not be as accepted in public here. To better illustrate what I am talking about let’s go over some of these techniques:

The Separation Technique-

Ok. . . . so I don’t know what you would call this but I am coining it as “The Separation Technique” maybe you have used this technique as a parent or if you are like me it was used on you as a kid. So what is The Separation Technique? This is when a child , who is of an age where they can walk on their own and/or are not sitting in a stroller, is misbehaving and/or not listening. The parent then starts to walk away from the child saying something like “Ok. . . . . . bye. . . . . I’m leaving now. . . . ” until the child decides to go with the parent rather than being separated. Usually with each remark the  volume of the parent’s voice increases and potentially the pitch gets higher and higher but that is depending on each parent’s preference. The Separation Technique.

This technique is not necessarily one that would be acceptable to use here especially if you know that it will result in your child becoming overly upset. Remember it’s quiet here so doing something that might involve you becoming intentionally loud or that might trigger your child to become overly upset is going to get a bad reaction from the people around you. This also leads us to the next technique. . . .


Raising of the Voice Technique-

As you might imagine in a society where people are quiet raising your voice at your child is not necessarily something you might want to resort to. I won’t hold it against you but trust me when I say an American raising their voice in a shopping center in Okinawa is like Zeus’ thunderous voice calling down from Olympus.

Avoidance-

If you want to know when people in Okinawa are going to become upset or even angry at the behavior of a child it is almost always when the parent is using a technique which I refer to as the “Avoidance Technique”. This is when a parent completely avoids any and all confrontation with their child allowing them to conduct themselves in any manner they so choose. In other words the parent completely ignores the child altogether as well as any consequences or effects that their child’s behavior may have. An example of this might be a baby in a fancy restaurant. (One might wonder why there is a baby in a fancy restaurant in the first place but we’ll get there in another post.) If the baby cries and the parent tries to sooth the baby or if the crying continues removes the baby from the situation there will be no problem. However, suppose the baby is crying and neither parent makes any attempt to stop the child from crying but just allows it to happen. This would cause anger or frustration with the people around you because you are not being considerate by even making an attempt to sooth the child.

Overall what I hope that I was able to illustrate with what I have said above is that yes things are different here. You are going to have to take a few things you wouldn’t normally into consideration but overall if you remember to be considerate to those people around you and try to prevent and stop situations which might disrupt people around you then you have nothing to worry about. If you, on the other hand, don’t care about other people or how what you or your child does affects them than yes you are gong to cause frustration and in some cases you may even cause a disadvantage for others in the future, but more about that later.


Child Friendly Places

With all this talk about keeping in line there is bound to be places where kids can REALLY be kids right? Absolutely! In fact one of the things that I found remarkable about Okinawa is the fact that there seem to be parks (and I don’t mean the ones where the old people walk and enjoy the sunshine but ones with swings and kid stuff) all over the place. Not only is there one in almost ever neighborhood but they are clean and well kept too. These are places where kids can get out of the everyday shell and just enjoy being a kid. There are usually swings, things to climb on, sand and almost always some sort of large and ridiculous slide. Not only are these fun places to take your kids but they are also nice places for you to sit and enjoy being a parent with covered tables and benches as well as usually a water fountain so that you can keep yourself refreshed.

If you are willing to pay a little bit of money to give your kid the chance to play there are various other places where you can take them for some indoor fun. Although I do not often remember the names of these places because I personally do not frequent them there is one which is referred to as the Jungle something and another one which is located in a San A in the Naha Area. There are also sometimes special performances at shopping centers and even times of the year where they set up ball pits and bouncy houses right int he shopping centers for the kids to enjoy. These indoor areas are great for air conditioned fun especially in the summertime when mom’s and dad’s want to avoid that summer sun.

If you want to be out in the sun there are also a variety of playgrounds, such as the one at Araha Beach, which are on the beach. The kiddles can play in the sand and pretend to be a pirate while mom or dad sits in the sun and works on his/her tan. . . we are on a tropical island after all might as well look like it. This particular playground is known for being a lot of fun among many of the military families because of it’s location in central Okinawa as well as being a 1 minute walk from pirate ship to ocean with a bathroom near by (although be warned the are squatty potties) and a refreshments stand.

Of course you are going to want to be a tourist sooner or later and there are many child friendly tourist destinations as well. This would include the Aquarium and Okinawa World. These are both great fun for kids offer fun activities for children and over all are safe even if you have a child who likes to dart out of your sight.

Places Not For Every Child

Like anywhere else there may be places where you don’t want to take your kids. I will maybe go over more of these places in the future but for the sake of this post and the topic that we are on I am going to take about places you might not want to take your child if they are a screamer or a runner.

The Screamer

For a moment let’s go back culture (don’t worry I will do my best to summarize). Here in Okinawa the outdoors are very important to people for various reasons some religious. This is why when visiting some places you may find yourself encountering people praying, shrines or monuments. These things can be found at parks (the big and culturally protected ones not the ones that I described above), castle ruins, caves and shrines. People regularly visit these locations to honor ancestors or pray and therefore when visiting these sites it is important to ensure that you are doing so with the upmost respect and consideration for the people around you. This may be a tourist destination for you but it is a huge piece of history and culture for the people of the island.

The reason that I have titled this section “The Screamer” is because for children who have an uncontrolled desire to scream and/or yell this may not be the place you want to take them. Remember this is a place of worship for many and in some cases people travel great distances (even from Mainland Japan) to worship at these sites.


The Runner

When it comes to children who run it no longer becomes a matter of consideration for other people, in my opinion, but more a matter of safety. The one thing that you will notice about Okinawa when you first get here is that it is considerably smaller here than it is in the US. In stores, for example, aisles are half the size that you might find in the US. In many cases it’s just enough for two people with shopping carts to pass through and corners are very tight so the odds of your child running through the store and getting hit by someone’s shopping cart or accidentally running into a display case are pretty good. This isn’t really the concern though. There is a bigger concern for parking lots in which people drive considerably faster than they should most of the time. The biggest concern in my opinion, however, is when taking your children to tourist locations much like the ones I mentioned above (Caves, Shrines, Recreational Parks and Castle Ruins). Many of these places have stairs and walkways made of coral which is sharp and slick. Stairways are also extremely steep as if you are climbing a mountain (I realize that seems exaggerated but I honestly do not know how else to describe it) These castle ruins are also built on mountain tops which undoubtably mean that there are cliffs in some cases they are straight drop offs. I have seen them and yes they are there without any barrier. Again it is a matter of knowing your child and determining whether you believe they are capable of handling a trip to a location such as this.

Conclusion

With all this being said what can we really conclude here? To be honest I leave it to you. Questions or Comments can be left below or you can email me at OkiNinjaKitty@yahoo.com. If you would like more information about kid friendly activities please  let me know and I will be happy to do some research and post information. Thanks for reading and I hope that you find this post helpful.

 

Testing New Waters: Occupations [July 2 2012]

I recently received an email from a woman who is preparing for a move here to Okinawa in the near future. She was asking me whether or not there is a esthetician school here in Okinawa. She is currently working in another occupation but it is becoming boring for her and she feels that now is as good a time as any to try out something new and potentially find her “thing”. This is something that many of us go through in life but I think it is more common when moving to a new place. A new place is a new opportunity for a new start and the job seems to be the first place that we look. During this morning’s routine while I was checking out my Facebook page I saw the message again in my box, I had already replied but it had made me feel as though I needed to make a more in depth post about this and eventually a video because I am sure that this is a question that is on the minds of many who come here to Okinawa and may be reading this blog.

Please keep in mind: The content of this post and video is not focused on changing your military career. I have no idea how one would go about doing that and therefore I am in no position to speak about that. This will be regarding civilians (spouses, dependents and other foreigners). As always if you have more information please feel free to share it in the comments below and if you want information please let me know and I will see what I can do for you. 

Now that you know why I was compelled to write this post let’s get right into some of the issues that you might want to take into consideration when trying to test the new waters of an occupation during your time here in Okinawa.

Language:

The first and most important thing to remember when considering a change of occupation during your time here in Okinawa is that any and all schools that you attend outside of the programs offered by the military bases are going to be conducted in Japanese. Okinawa is not a US territory and the native language here is Japanese. This means that any and all classes taught in any and all schools here (other than the Japanese As A Second Language School) will be taught in Japanese. If you are a regular reader or viewer you may then be asking “How is this the case? Didn’t you say a lot of people in Okinawa speak English?”. Yes there are a lot of people out here who speak some English which makes a basic conversation in English something possible but that does not mean that they speak enough English to hold a class in English.

“What are my options”

When it comes to language you have a few simple options. The first is to take a class that is offered by the US Military. These classes will in English and will be conducted like any other programs that you may have the ability to take in the US aside from some time differences. This is unfortunately your only option unless you have a pretty decent command of the Japanese language in which you can read, listen, and write. If you do have this command of the Japanese language your only limit is what is offered here on Okinawa.

Limitations:

The second thing to consider is that while you are in Okinawa you are living on an island. For many Americans island life is not something we are familiar with. For us almost anywhere within the US, Canada and even Mexico is reachable by car so long as you have the resources and the will to go. This is not the case here in Okinawa. For example we do not have esthetician schools here on this island nor do we have other learning establishments similar to bartender schools, tattoo schools or other trade schools. From my understanding speaking with people at the salon that I go to if you want to study certain things you will usually go to mainland Japan to complete your study and then potential return back here or potentially get a job somewhere else in Mainland. Of course as I said this also depends on whether or not you can speak Japanese.

“What are my options”

If you can speak Japanese and have an excess of funds you can potentially commute to Mainland Japan each day and take your classes. Many people from Okinawa commute to Mainland Japan each day although I honestly am not sure why one would want to do that with the 2 to 3 hour flight and the cost of the flights. (Note: There are commuter packages which make the flights much less expensive than what you or I might pay to take a trip up to Mainland for the weekend but I still imagine that it is rather expensive.) Of course this is depending if you speak Japanese or not and I would also note that I am not sure of what schools may or may not be available in the Mainland Japan. That would require a great deal of research that I did not complete because I am here in Okinawa.

If you are only an English speaker you still have a large variety of options if you have access to the military bases. One of the things that the bases have is universities where you can study a number of different subjects. These universities sometimes offer certificate programs also which allow you to study for a short time and get your certificate in something that may start you on the track to a new occupation.

Your third option is to take classes online. This is something that many people do and it can be done rather easily and in some cases can offer you more variety than what is here on the island. This will open doors to things that you may be more interested in.

Changing occupation without schooling:

The odds of you being here in Okinawa do more than a few years are slim. It’s just the way that it is here for most people so what are you to do if you don’t want to complete an educational program but you can’t wait to get out of your current occupation? There are some ways for you to get what you need also. If you are a US citizen regardless  your current affiliation with the military you can apply to work with the US military bases. You can also apply for jobs on the military bases if you are Japanese but that is a topic for an entirely different blog. Anyway there are tons of jobs available in different areas. Some require a great deal of experience while others do not require a great deal of experience at all. If you are determined to get out of your current occupation you can give these types of jobs a shot and may find yourself on the path to something different and also finding yourself expanding your resume which is always a good thing. For the purpose of this blog I am not going to go into detail about how to find and get a job here. This is a topic that requires a lot of attention to detail and if you are interested in hearing about it please let me know and I will go into ever detail that I can for you. For now, however, we’re going to stick to the fact that there are jobs out there all you have to do is apply and see why happens.

Other options:

If you want to make a little bit of money, don’t want to go through the trouble of applying for another job and don’t want to learn a new job you can also go for some of the many options that you have which anyone can get into and almost anyone can do. There are various candle, jewelry and fitness supplement “party” programs out there where you can sell the products and get a profit. This is not necessarily what I would consider a reliable source of income but if you are one of the many who just wants a little pocket change once in a while you might find yourself interested in taking part in this sort of thing. To be honest I am not familiar with this type of program either because it is not something that I have done but it is something that I am sure you can find our more information about be searching online for your favorite company.

Word of Caution: 

Just as anywhere else in the world where there is a market for someone to make money there is a person out there trying to make some cash. It is extremely important to be very aware of the fact that not everyone who is offering classes, especially those who are doing it out of their home, are not always legitimate sources of knowledge and in some cases you may be paying a great deal for someone to “teach” you techniques. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go and learn from these people. In some cases they may have developed techniques that are useful and worth paying for. What I am stressing is that you as the student understand that there is a difference between learning techniques and becoming certified. You may also find that because you have paid for these classes doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have the ability to get a job at a company or organization with those skills.

With all of this being said Okinawa is as good a place as any to test out a new occupation. There may be limitations but if you are willing to work with your options I think that you will be capable of finding something that works for you.