Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Medical care for TDY

As of 2011, TDY can get emergency care only on base. Other needs will have to be taken care of elsewhere.

TDY dependents are no longer able to get care on base. Again, emergencies might be handled for immediacy reasons.

In Yokohama's China town, there's a clinic that a couple of people suggested to me.

This clinic is one of the ones the American Embassy recommends.

There is also dental here. I personally recommend the Himawari Dental Office. Ellie SUZUKI, DDS (general AND orthodontics) studied and practiced in the US, and has excellent English. She is over by Hayama in a town called Nagai.

For a full list of doctors (you get the bio, so you can see who studied in the US, however the staff may not speak, so get someone Japanese to make that appointment for you) at the embassy, click here:

Phonetically spelled (broadcast background here... you'll figure it out, common pronunciation)
Does the doctor speak English? = OOH ee-shYAW wa Ay-go ha-naw-say moss-CAW?

Have your Japanese book handy for days of week and times.

My political SOAP BOX: To keep retention in the military, one of the things they promised is less moves. Then they put a nuclear aircraft carrier in Japan. To work on this, they either ship it to the US, or do it here. That requires American nationals to work on it. THEN, they won't share their hospital with the folks who come work on the ship.

PLEASE write your congressional representative and your senators. Norm Dicks just made it to Ways and Means committee, and he has some clout. You didn't have to vote for these folks, however they're your representatives now. In order to be represented, you've got to let them know what they need to do to help you out!

(I couldn't get the last 2 to load... sometimes it's because I have a Japanese server, and sometimes the system is down.

Monday, November 29, 2010


First of all, elevators can be found at some stations, not all.
Usually this is the scene at most stations. The old Tokyo subway stations seem to be the worst.
Strollers are okay, especially if the child is still too small to support himself.
When the train isn't busy, you can leave larger children in their stroller. You don't have to fold it up to make room.
Sure, the sign in the window says these seats are for the elderly, pregnant, disabled, or mothers... but it took two stops to have them vacated for us.
Make sure your stroller is narrow enough to go through the wickets.
This one is wider than most, and there sometimes are manned, wider wickets to be found.

Babies are loved in Japan. Until age of 6, kids get away with a lot. Candy is often given to your child. You'll hear, 'Kawai' which is cute. DON'T say 'Kowai' back to them and their children. It means scarey. Of course, some of our children are scarey.

TRAIN ETIQUETTE- We are encouraged to not use the trains at peak commuter times. We had to get to Haneda Airport one time, and took our son. People tried to help protect him, but it was a tight squeeze. They shove people into the cars at this time of morning. If you do have to go, there might not be room for the stroller. FOLD IT UP. My Japanese teacher says they won't say anything to you, but it is expected. Safety of your child can be in jeopardy. Our friend's older children play a game, 'Feet up!' When traveling at peak times, they announce when they can keep their feet off the ground, but be held up by the sardine crowd.
When the trains are back to normal (9:30 a.m. is plenty safe, I think), and there is room, no folding up is needed. Some cars at the ends have a special place for old people and mothers to sit. Feel free to keep the kid in the stroller and park them there, even if it is a bit crowded.
Evening rush isn't as big of deal. The commuters come home at different times, so it will be crowded (use your judgement to fold up or not).
Weekends should be no problem. Not all small stations have elevators. Most bigger stations do, look for the signs, and be prepared to vie with the old folks for room on the elevators. Escalators are a snap. Be sure to keep to the left, so rushing commuters can get past. Some folks' connections are dependent on them running between trains.

BTW, children under 6 (or still in kindergarten) ride free. If your child is still in kindergarten, even if they're 7, they can ride free. When you go to get their half-priced PASMO, you will need their passport with you. They put their name on it, so it is only for them.

Eating is frowned upon on the trains. With so many commuters, it would be a mess. Unless you are on a train where you pay for your individual seats. There, you are allowed to drink and eat. Notice how the lady selling stuff bows on entrance and exit. It is fine to lap-sit your child on those trains, as there won't be room for a stroller in the aisle.
Buses you can keep your kid in the stroller in the bottom part. You usually enter the bus mid-section, and exit by the driver (when you pay). Wide strollers can be an issue.
In cars you will see unbelted children. On base, the same rules about baby seats apply as in the states. Some of the taxis on base have child seats to help you comply. Off-base taxis, no belt is needed.
If you take an MWR bus trip, you need to have the approved baby seat for your child. Since they are lap belts, no booster seats are needed. On the toll-ways, you need to be belted in. MWR helped me get one back in 2006 when we were TDY. I don't know if they still provide this service.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Home Schoolers

I was asked if there are any things 'not to miss' if you bring your kids with you TDY and are home schooling.

The base library is across the street (the one that curves with the orange center line barriers) from the commissary. The bus stops in front of it.

Here are some links to our family's blog, and my friend's blog, with some great places to take kids:

Hamagin Science Center I would rate this 5 star, because great exhibits, in English, ages 3-12

Railway Museum in Omiya 5 star, and I have a child who we've done every train museum we can find in our travels. Ages 3-old dudes who love history. Easy to get to for non-speakers.

Tepco (Electrical Company) Museum, Tokyo This is a 3-star, but still interesting. Ages 6-12

Taura Hike and Play My friend posted this. She does a great blog and tells how to get places!

Miraikan in Tokyo's Odaiba area with a lot to do.

As I have time, I'll add other places I think are worth dragging your kids to!

FISHING in Japan

This was posted at Heisei (past LIVIN and AVE) on March 1st. I took the picture on the 2nd.

I took this picture at my train station, Keikyu Otsu. There is a marina here, and a sports shop by the harbor where you can buy fishing stuff. I imagine there's some fishing stuff at the NEX in Fleet Rec. Ctr., as well.
WANT TO FISH IN JAPAN? For current fish in season, sizes, and if a permit is needed, stop by the MWR trip office. To your immediate left is the IACE travel agency. Behind them is where you need to ask, not to the right, where you sign up for MWR trips.

They promote deep sea fishing trips and tournaments that they do.

They tell you to fish on-base, there's less competition to stick your pole in the water. They discourage Truman Bay (where the Japanese subs are and Daiei Mall), as the water doesn't go out so often, so it's pretty junk water.
You see Japanese fishing from every pier available. This is in Sagami Bay.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Off Base Bus

There is a website for the off base buses (you might not be able to read the kanji, but you can look at a map and figure it out). You'll at least know the number of the bus and where to catch it to go somewhere in the Yokosuka area:

Go to the following site if this link doesn't work.


Remember to stand in line for the buses here! Seriously, it's bad form to get on before your turn. It might mean a better seat, or a seat at all.
They usually have a timetable posted at the Bus stop (BAW-sue No-REE-buh) and it will tell you when the next one gets there.
There is usually some indication of what bus number stops at this basu noriba, and as long as you have printed out the Yokosuka bus area map, you can compare the number of the bus you need to get on, with the number on the sign.
This is one of the bus stops at Shiori Station. Yokosuka Chuo buses line up along the street, but have similar shelters and signs.
Remember to board the bus in the middle, and exit in front, by the driver. I always use my Pasmo (or Suica card), so I don't worry about the cost. If you don't use those cards, you might need to get a ticket when boarding the bus (there's a little machine) to show the driver how long you've been on the bus, as the fare increases the further you go.

If you pay with cash, note that there are two places to put change. One is a machine to give you smaller change for your larger change so that you have exact change to put in the other slot to pay the fare. If you put too much money in the other slot, there is nothing they can do to give you change. Did we mention that Pasmo was convenient...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A/C Remote

Fleet and Family Support provides a very useful service. If you take your Japanese annotated remote into Fleet and Family Support, they'll take a photo copy of it and annotate what all the buttons are in English. If any of you have tried to figure out the Japanese air conditioners with all their functions by trial and error (with a heavy dose of "error") then you can appreciate the value of that service. Since most controllers have most of the same options and functions, we thought we'd give you a head start by providing a copy of our guide. Even after a year of living here, we still need to look at the guide when operating the air conditioning units. Feel free to click on the picture, print out a copy of the picture, and keep it close to your controller.

Good Luck!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

RPP Townhouses

Someone posted a question about the townhouses at the 'Sakura area.'  I doubt these are TDY places.  PCS'd people I know there like them.  Locally they're called 'RPP' (I believe that's the company that rents them).  Thanks to one of my friends, who has shared these pictures with me to share with you:

One of the reasons PCS people like RPP, is that they don't require the monetary gift to the owner(s) which is equal to one month's rent, and you never get it back.  They do require damage deposits, and it's a one-year contract.  It's more similar to renting in the states.  Some of the high-rise apartments come furnished.  In the townhouses, you bring your own furniture.