by Pa RockYesterday morning, just as I was beginning to suspect that I would never find a suitable apartment, I found the right one. I went to the housing office at Kadena and told them what I wanted, the lady there made a few calls and set some appointments with different housing agents, and the very first one, a lady named Junko, took me directly to the place that I had described.
For those who have been to Okinawa, my apartment is on the sixth floor of an eight-story building in Araha Beach. It is closer to Highway 58 than it is to the beach - which made it cheaper - and directly across the highway from the commissary at Camp Foster. The beach is nice, and only about a three-minute walk from the front door of the apartment building. And, yes, it has an elevator - although climbing all of those steps will be good for me.
The apartment is a little over 1,200 square feet. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, living room, and a utility room - with all appliances. There is a deck on two sides that looks out over the East China Sea with a view that extends to the big ferris wheel in American Village. It will need curtains, and, coincidentally, the landlord owns a drapery business - those Okinawans are always thinking! The cable TV and Internet will be hooked up and ready to roll when I move in on Friday. I have even arranged for a mama-san to come in and clean twice a month - that is a luxury that I give myself wherever I live.
The reason that I decided to try to find someplace at Araha Beach is that they have put down a new, wide sidewalk that follows the beach three miles up to American Village, and it will soon be extended all the way to Sunabe. It is wonderful for walking or riding a bike. There are also many businesses in the area, some of which are open late. I noticed a Tex-Mex barbecue place right across the street, and one of the women in the housing office told me that it was really good.
(That same lady, a young Okinawan, asked me what I did for the military. I explained that I was a social worker and told her a little about our programs. "Is that like a therapist?" she asked, and I explained that a large part of my job was therapeutic individual and group counseling. She then proceeded to tell me, in great detail, about a dream that she has been having. After listening for awhile, I stopped her and said that it might be due to indigestion. If she wants free therapy, I'm going to need those curtains!)
This afternoon I went back to BC Motors by Gate 2 and bought a car. It was the oldest and ugliest one on the lot, and it was $1,600 cheaper than the one that I would have liked to have bought. It will be sitting out in the rain for the next two years, and will have almost no value left when I am ready to leave - so it just made sense rather than spending more money on a nicer one that will also be hard to get rid of in two years. I will use the savings to get a nice television - and maybe curtains! (Of course, on the sixth floor in that neighborhood, there will be no window-peekers, not that I would have to worry about that anyway!)
The car will be ready for pick up on Thursday evening, and I move on Friday. It is all coming together so nicely!