My husband and I are being relocated to Japan and I am wondering what to expect with the transition?

My husband is in the United States Navy and we have orders to relocate to Yokosuka (Yokohama/Tokyo area), Japan in January. Since he is going to be on a ship and I will be left alone for long stretches of time I'm just wondering what I should expect or be prepared for? He is planning on purchasing a house off base. I was wondering how strong the language barrier is in the Yokohama and Tokyo area, do most Japanese know fluent English? How hard is it to pick up the Japanese lanuage? Is it easy to meet and make friends in Japan or do the cultural/language differences make it difficult? How bad are the earthquakes and tsunamis in this area? What do they do to prepare for them, do they have a warning system, like a weather alert? How easy is it to get a good job when you don't know Japanese (I am a Graphic Designer)? I have done a good deal of research on the country and the language I am just looking for some personal experience to help prepare. Any advice/info would be great! I actually dated a Japanese Foreign exchange student when I was in high school. We lost touch when I went to college due to technology issues, time difference, and his crazy school schedule. So I know a good deal of the basics. I would love to get more information from someone who is Japanese, but what I really am seeking is what is it like to be an Non Japanese speaking American living in Japan for a prolonged period of time by yourself. Thanks so much for your advise and information! Please keep it coming ; ) I don't have kids but I do have two small papillon dogs. TWIKFAT if you read this post again, what is your email?

Asked By: EJB - 10/24/2006
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
you can't buy a home off base, you must be a Japanese citizen. There is a ceiling for OHA, based on pay grade. whatever your rent is, up to that ceiling, is what you will get, you may NOT pocket the difference like you can BAH. homes on the economy are vastly different than what we have in the States. most are... More
Answered By: Mrsjvb - 10/24/2006
Additional Answers (10)
just don't get lost in Translation
Answered By: Mortdesuper - 10/24/2006
Get ready to feel real TALL
Answered By: bentheguru - 10/24/2006
Japan is a different country. Not many people speak English and everything is in Japanese... just everything. People is friendly but they need you speaking Japanese. I know is a cultural shock but patience...
Answered By: theazsurfer - 10/24/2006
You might do better talking to someone from Japan who lives here now. They will be able to explain the differences better. Try a local organization or university. You will find them to be more than helpful. Probably more helpful than most here.
Answered By: RJ - 10/24/2006
Congratulations I think its going to be a wonderful experience for you. I must admit I only visited there for 3 weeks but I was deeply impressed. The language barrier is quite a barrier. Many Japanese know English but are either shy or afraid to use it. I think picking up a new language is wonderful for those who have... More
Answered By: Joseph - 10/24/2006
To be honest, you'd be lucky if you found a Japanese person who knows any English, let alone be fluent at it. They learn English in Junior High and high school for 6 years, but since they never practice it after graduation, since the focus is on reading and rote memorization rather than conversation, and since many... More
Answered By: Kaonashi - 10/24/2006
Welcome to Japan. I am not military, but I am an American living in Tokyo. Tokyo and Yokosuka are two very different places. I can offer some advice from the langauge point of view. My wife and kids also came to Japan with me when my corporation transferred me. They did not speak and Japanese, yet over time they... More
Answered By: wuzaracer - 10/24/2006
"Fear often exaggerates danger... More
Answered By: Joriental - 10/24/2006
Hey there. many good questions. I just got back from japan, I lived in Hokkaido from 2004-2006. Im 22. I wasnt an excahnge student, english teacher or anything like that I was a volenteer missionary so I have a real view on the life and society. Our job was to teach deep stuff so it was our role to be fluent in the... More
Answered By: twikfat - 10/25/2006
My husband & I were stationed at Yokota. Check out this website: This is the best "crash course" manual I can recommend for you. It's geared toward Yokota Air Base but lots of stuff would apply for the Naval Base... More
Answered By: M - 10/27/2006
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