My husband and I have decided that we are going to sell both of our vehicles and just purchase "new" used cars once we arrive on Okinawa. There are a few reasons for this. First, the Army only ships one vehicle. Second, we'd have to pay to get it converted and approved for the Japanese emissions system. Third, they drive on the other side of the road like in the UK or Australia. Hence the steering wheel and pedals are all on the right side of the car as opposed to what we are used to. And lastly, anyone who has ever lived near the ocean knows just what sea air can do to vehicles.
So by the end of the month, both my Camry, and my husband's brand new F150 will be posted for sale on Craigslist. In the mean time we have been perusing Okinawan used car dealership websites to get a feel for what we can get, and how much we can spend. There are very few brand new cars on Oki. Most military families purchase used cars from "lemon" lots. Basically these are cars that have been used by a military family and are brought back to be resold when the family is ready to PCS off the island.
In looking at some of these websites, there are a whole lot of Toyotas, Honda, and Nissans for sale. Ooofta. I can see it now. I come out of the commissary for the first time, arms full of groceries, my kids in tow, and have managed to lose my car in the sea of other cars just. like. mine. After explaining the scenario to my husband in great detail we decided that we would try to find a car unlike all of the others just for me. I managed to find an old school mini cooper that we could purchase for about 6,000 American dollars. Oh boy oh boy oh boy! I am ALL over that!
Buying a new, used car is just one of the exciting parts of this coming experience. Even though I see what I'd like online, there is no guarantee of what we will find once we get there. I guess I am of the mind that what's meant to be is meant to be. I have my anticipation to keep me company for the next few months. My computer is my best friend as I continue to research cars, homes, things to do, places to see, and more of what I can expect from life on the island. Until then, I'll be waiting for my vintage mini. beep beep!