The Simpkins family on Yokohama life: “We like the variety of food places, how accessible it is and the friendliness of the local people”

By on April 7, 2014

The Simpkins family                    

Time in Japan   3.4 YEARS     

Where from       USA

Mississipi born Lara Simpkins and husband Fred from California spent 2.5 years in Sasebo from 2005-2008. They arrived in Yokosuka in July 2013 on a US military order.  The couple lives close to the base and is raising 3 children ages 19, 7 and 3.



On a scale of 1-10, rate Yokohama life.

Cost of living                    4 (higher than US)
Education                           *
Childcare/safety            10
Healthcare                        9**
Taxes                                  3***
Community support      10
Transportation               10****
Social life                         10 *****
Housing                             4 ******       *Children homeschooled but DOD schools on base are very adequate compared to US standards ** US Military hospital is great. The only thing we lack on base is a trauma unit and NICU *** Road tax, etc is rather high **** Public transportation system excellent however, limited and costly.  Parking adds to the high cost of living.  ***** both on base and off have many choices  ****** low when compared to US standards.


How does living here compare to your home? Compared to both of our original home towns; mine Hartlepool in England and his in Lorraine, NY,  it is very different. It is much bigger, more of a city lifestyle compared to the small towns we came from. There is more hustle and bustle and a lot more to do. The mixture of cultures and variety of things to do makes Yokohama a much more appealing place to live. What is the biggest change in your life since being here?  The biggest change was having our daughter. She was born in Japan and that in itself changed our lives in general. Did you have to make big adjustments when you first arrived here? Not so much, we had come from Italy so adapting to another culture was relatively simple. Obviously another language poses new challenges but we have found the local people to be very helpful when we attempt to use the basic Japanese we know. What do you and your family enjoy the most about Yokohama? The variety of things to do. There is so much variety for adults and children alike. The street festivals are by far our most favorite things about Japan. There is such a wonderful atmosphere and we never feel excluded. Most annoying habit picked up in Japan?  I wouldn’t say annoying habit but we do tend to bow at everyone we pass now even outside of the country when we go on vacation. Favourite hangout in Yokohama as a family? Bornelund is a fantastic place. We often go there with our friends and their children. We all have such fun and children play without havjng problems with language as fun is a universal language.
Three things you love about Yokohama
1 – the variety of food places
2 – how accessible it is
3 – the friendliness of the local people
If you can change one thing here that will make family life better, what would it be? We wish we could speak Japanese fluently. If you could bring back a piece of Japan to your home country, what would it be? We would bring the respect that people have for each other. In other cultures it seems to be lacking compare to what it is here.




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