Introduction Greetings From Vancouver 2.0

Square

New member
Thank you @rad33 for you posts on this forum as they drew me to this wonderful site after searching "Canadians in Okinawa". To show my appreciation, I have paid tribute to (stolen) your original thread title - but the copy-paste doesn't end there...

I am currently living in the Vancouver area with my wife, who is a Japanese citizen, and our 2 daughters (2 and 0.5). We originally set the second half of 2022 as our target to move to Okinawa but may have to push it back if the world is still on fire. We still have a year and a half to decide but are having difficulty figuring out where to live. It seems like Naha would be a good starting point and then we can explore and possibly find a good spot to settle long term. My wife has always worked in offices while in Japan and I have a background in teaching English but am also working towards an accounting designation, which will probably be even less marketable than my English teaching.

I feel like a lot of this will be things we learn through experience but any tips on family friendly areas and industries to attack in order to get work ASAP would be greatly appreciated. If not, I would be happy just to hear how any of you got started.

Thanks and take care everybody.
 
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island cyclist

Well-known member
Founding Member
Although I don't live in Okinawa, I've felt at times I never left the place. It is a small island and I think one would have to have a lot of energy to enjoy the island. I live in Yamaguchi-ken and luckily I took up cycling ( always liked cycling as a kid ) so much of my free time is out bumming around.
The wife is Japanese and she also teaches Juku style English ( not conversation ). To give you an idea where we live, one would not be able live on the income unless you work for a public school, university or junior or high school.
There are always dangers about job security in all the above. But Okinawa was a tourist destination and I assume English is well spoken there and still needed at a professional level. It might be difficult with 2 young kids to start off with, but if anything, I think the sooner you get there the better it is. But you need to check with immigration before you buy any tickets. If I leave Japan, I can't come back according to US Embassy in Tokyo. So everything is really weird at the moment. It really is tough times everywhere here on the mainland and I'm serious.
But one must live out your dreams. Just make sure you have about 30 million yen at the time of your retirement and no house or car payment. In this country when self employed , you work till you almost drop.
Have fun in Okinawa.
 

David

Founder
Okinawa.Org Staff
Welcome, @Square!

You and @rad33 wouldn't even fit on my hands counting the Canadians I've run into over the past decade that lives in Okinawa. I primarily thought that this place was full of, well, Americans. The ex-pat community is larger and more diverse than I originally thought.

While English may be your best bet short-term, I'm not too certain you can entirely discount that accounting training.

I have met an Aussie that applied to work on base as an MLC/IHA in human resources due to his Japanese residency, which you would also have as a spouse of a Japanese national.

So, while you may not land in an accounting field in the first year, two, or even three, I wouldn't be discouraged about it as it can take some people up to 5 years to land a more stable job, not saying that English can't be.

Also, Covid has changed the face of the world and made companies rethink hiring strategies. We may see a lot of positions shift over to hiring a lot online. I know of a private company just south of you (and of the border, in Washington) that went completely online with their ~100 employees (and more contracted around the world to allow for uninterrupted 24/7 customer support). Perhaps there are even Canadian companies practicing this now too, where you could work daytimes in order to provide nighttime support for their customers there as calls, emails, and tickets are all logged in support—this may be something that you could offer a company in order to ground yourself here better.

Either way, good luck in your ventures! Come back around anytime you need information and whatnot.
 
OP
S

Square

New member
Although I don't live in Okinawa, I've felt at times I never left the place. It is a small island and I think one would have to have a lot of energy to enjoy the island. I live in Yamaguchi-ken and luckily I took up cycling ( always liked cycling as a kid ) so much of my free time is out bumming around.
The wife is Japanese and she also teaches Juku style English ( not conversation ). To give you an idea where we live, one would not be able live on the income unless you work for a public school, university or junior or high school.
There are always dangers about job security in all the above. But Okinawa was a tourist destination and I assume English is well spoken there and still needed at a professional level. It might be difficult with 2 young kids to start off with, but if anything, I think the sooner you get there the better it is. But you need to check with immigration before you buy any tickets. If I leave Japan, I can't come back according to US Embassy in Tokyo. So everything is really weird at the moment. It really is tough times everywhere here on the mainland and I'm serious.
But one must live out your dreams. Just make sure you have about 30 million yen at the time of your retirement and no house or car payment. In this country when self employed , you work till you almost drop.
Have fun in Okinawa.
Much appreciated! I agree, the earlier our kids are there, the easier I think it will be to adjust. That is interesting about the travel restrictions so we will keep an eye on the Canadian/Japanese rules, thank you. Also, I, couldn't agree more about living out dreams.
 
Last edited:
OP
S

Square

New member
Welcome, @Square!

You and @rad33 wouldn't even fit on my hands counting the Canadians I've run into over the past decade that lives in Okinawa. I primarily thought that this place was full of, well, Americans. The ex-pat community is larger and more diverse than I originally thought.

While English may be your best bet short-term, I'm not too certain you can entirely discount that accounting training.

I have met an Aussie that applied to work on base as an MLC/IHA in human resources due to his Japanese residency, which you would also have as a spouse of a Japanese national.

So, while you may not land in an accounting field in the first year, two, or even three, I wouldn't be discouraged about it as it can take some people up to 5 years to land a more stable job, not saying that English can't be.

Also, Covid has changed the face of the world and made companies rethink hiring strategies. We may see a lot of positions shift over to hiring a lot online. I know of a private company just south of you (and of the border, in Washington) that went completely online with their ~100 employees (and more contracted around the world to allow for uninterrupted 24/7 customer support). Perhaps there are even Canadian companies practicing this now too, where you could work daytimes in order to provide nighttime support for their customers there as calls, emails, and tickets are all logged in support—this may be something that you could offer a company in order to ground yourself here better.

Either way, good luck in your ventures! Come back around anytime you need information and whatnot.
Working remotely definitely crossed my mind but that is a really good point that it's becoming a much more feasible option and great point about night shifts. And you are right, there should be a 5-year plan in place rather than expecting careers from day 1. Thank you so much for your insight.
 

island cyclist

Well-known member
Founding Member
If you have already, sign up for the Canadian news updates from the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. YOU MUST DO THAT. They on their updates will provide the info on such travel restrictions to Japan. Just because your wife is Japanese does NOT mean you can enter Japan as you wish.
If possible, have your wife come to Okinawa first, find a house to rent . Right now there are travel restrictions for all foreigners entering Japan. Americans are not welcome in Japan at the moment, even if the spouse is Japanese. ( of course, I would assume some exceptions like military spouses ).
For real, if you a low energy ,TV watching person, Okinawa might get a bit frustrating at times.
 
OP
S

Square

New member
If you have already, sign up for the Canadian news updates from the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. YOU MUST DO THAT. They on their updates will provide the info on such travel restrictions to Japan. Just because your wife is Japanese does NOT mean you can enter Japan as you wish. If possible, have your wife come to Okinawa first, find a house to rent . Right now there are travel restrictions for all foreigners entering Japan. Americans are not welcome in Japan at the moment, even if the spouse is Japanese. ( of course, I would assume some exceptions like military spouses ).
Yeah, we keep an eye on it. As I said, the plan is to move second half of 2022 at the earliest so hopefully things will have changed a bit by then.
For real, if you a low energy ,TV watching person, Okinawa might get a bit frustrating at times.
Odd point. Did I come across that way?
 

island cyclist

Well-known member
Founding Member
No. Not at all. Just sharing a little of my experience while stationed in Okinawa. I'd go to karate and judo classes five days a week and had a 125cc Honda. Fun times always. Just meant that being idle on an island can get boring real fast. Although I live on the mainland here, when the weather is lousy and nothing to do but clean the house, well... I'd rather be doing stuff outside.
I understand now about your date of coming to Okinawa, yep, plenty of time you have before coming.
 

David

Founder
Okinawa.Org Staff
Mid-2022 will give you plenty of time to plan and get your affairs in order.

If I may suggest, I'd be doing tentative research between now and then about where you'd be best to move first as there are pros and cons to all areas, with of course a nonrefundable deposit making it harder on you to uproot if need be.

Feel free to ask about any city.

One more tip: Fortunately for you being Canadian, you fall into group 1 to directly convert your driver's license to a Japanese one. They do not like this and will try and give you all kinds of problems as you are essentially paying around 2% of what it costs to go through school to get a license here. Get documents in order and prepare in advance. This could be a certificate of graduation from driving school and proof of driving for over 90 days which could be high school transcripts of when you got your license; tax statements; pay stubs; water, electricity, garbage, or other bills; or anything else you can think of that will strengthen your case of proving those 90 days.
 
OP
S

Square

New member
No. Not at all. Just sharing a little of my experience while stationed in Okinawa. I'd go to karate and judo classes five days a week and had a 125cc Honda. Fun times always. Just meant that being idle on an island can get boring real fast. Although I live on the mainland here, when the weather is lousy and nothing to do but clean the house, well... I'd rather be doing stuff outside.
I understand now about your date of coming to Okinawa, yep, plenty of time you have before coming.
Ah, ok. Much appreciated. The ability to get out near year round is a big part of why we want to go to Okinawa. Certainly don't hate tv but love to be outside whenever we can.
 
OP
S

Square

New member
Mid-2022 will give you plenty of time to plan and get your affairs in order.

If I may suggest, I'd be doing tentative research between now and then about where you'd be best to move first as there are pros and cons to all areas, with of course a nonrefundable deposit making it harder on you to uproot if need be.

Feel free to ask about any city.
We still have a lot of research to do for sure but my wife doesn't want to be too far from the city so it looks like it will need to be in proximity of Naha. That said, is it realistic to commute to Naha from farther north? Or is the traffic actually that bad? Google says 1 hour from all the way up in Nago but the traffic tales make me question that. We have only ever been there on vacation so were not driving in rush hour.

Advice on good spots for families (schools, parks, beaches) would be much appreciated but I feel like we need to get back over there to get a feel for more spots beyond Naha and Nago.
One more tip: Fortunately for you being Canadian, you fall into group 1 to directly convert your driver's license to a Japanese one. They do not like this and will try and give you all kinds of problems as you are essentially paying around 2% of what it costs to go through school to get a license here. Get documents in order and prepare in advance. This could be a certificate of graduation from driving school and proof of driving for over 90 days which could be high school transcripts of when you got your license; tax statements; pay stubs; water, electricity, garbage, or other bills; or anything else you can think of that will strengthen your case of proving those 90 days.
Thank you! I will definitely get to that. That is a massive tip.
 

David

Founder
Okinawa.Org Staff
We still have a lot of research to do for sure but my wife doesn't want to be too far from the city so it looks like it will need to be in proximity of Naha.
I live near Naha Airport and found the commute to Camp Kinser in Urasoe to be alright until 0910 in the morning. If I didn't make it to a certain point by then, I would be 20 minutes late instead of about 10 minutes early. There are a lot of congested areas on different roads at varying times so it's hard to say whether you'll be impacted.
Advice on good spots for families (schools, parks, beaches) would be much appreciated but I feel like we need to get back over there to get a feel for more spots beyond Naha and Nago.
Unfortunately, you don't get much of a say as far as schools go unless you're going to pay upwards of 1,000,000~ yen a year for private schooling. Even then, the trip out there if you're not in the area is going to be long. It may be much shorter if you live within 5-10 minutes of driving distance to a designated bus stop, but then you're going to have to increase that annual tuition to cover that.

In the event that you can pay, there's Okinawa Christian School International in central Okinawa and Okinawa International School in Nanjo (though it looks like there's a Naha campus now, but I don't know the scope of it).

Beaches, parks, and other fun activities can be found in the Places directory and the Okinawa Pin Drops forum (to which I'll have to continue building to show more, but that was put on hold for a bit for obvious reasons).
 
OP
S

Square

New member
@David Thanks. I guess our net is a bit too wide right now to really ask for any specific help. I think we just want a spot that is quiet but where we can all walk or bike to just about anything. And thanks for the info on schools. I think public will be the way to go for us since we want the kids to be able to make local friends and we are not religious.

On another note, I read a post you made a while back about being consistent and it leading to success. I really hope this pays off for you as you have already been a huge help to me and my family by consistently responding so quickly. I hope this site gets to a point where you no longer have time to respond to every one of my questions (though selfishly, not in the short-term).

On another another note, what's up with that Super Famicom controller on your profile? Is there a gaming section around here? Because that would be just super.
 
OP
S

Square

New member
@David Just wanted to provide an update: I took your advice on looking local for work and asked my boss about working remotely from overseas and got the green light. Great idea, thanks again. See you all in fall 2022!
 

David

Founder
Okinawa.Org Staff
@David Just wanted to provide an update: I took your advice on looking local for work and asked my boss about working remotely from overseas and got the green light. Great idea, thanks again. See you all in fall 2022!
That's amazing! Covid sure changed the way we work these days.

Hopefully, you're able to change the hours a tad bit or you'll have to work from around midnight to 8 in the morning which could be a little rough. I'd be amazed if your boss was flexible enough in letting you work days here to catch up on work the previous day there in Canada.

I know a lot of companies are reaching out to people over the internet because it not only cuts down on office space but cuts employee costs as well. They can now hire independent contractors and even pay them at a $15/hr+ rate (or less if they go outside the U.S.) without worrying about matching Social Security and paying payroll taxes.
 
OP
S

Square

New member
That's amazing! Covid sure changed the way we work these days.

Hopefully, you're able to change the hours a tad bit or you'll have to work from around midnight to 8 in the morning which could be a little rough. I'd be amazed if your boss was flexible enough in letting you work days here to catch up on work the previous day there in Canada.

I know a lot of companies are reaching out to people over the internet because it not only cuts down on office space but cuts employee costs as well. They can now hire independent contractors and even pay them at a $15/hr+ rate (or less if they go outside the U.S.) without worrying about matching Social Security and paying payroll taxes.
I will actually be working graveyards, which will suck but it will work well for our family. If it means we can move to Okinawa and keep our household income close to what it is now, we will make it work.
 

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