i lived on post (kadena) from 02-04 but this time i'm a civilian so my japanese wife and i are gonna gladly be living as close to the ocean as possible (off base).
i actually found it to be extremely hospitable and thought hawaii (oahu/honolulu area) was really inhospitable in my opinion. we actually, well i actually wanted to move to hawaii as a second choice and there were a lot more job opportunities there so we went a couple times to check it out and a few folks were nice but for the most part we found all the tourists to be pretty, well touristy
maybe we didn't get out into the local areas as much, but in my opinion i found the locals to be a lot less approachable than most others places i've been. i'd compare them to like the new yorkers (of the 90's) of the pacific,,, just my opinion.
some locals we talked to were friendly but it seemed whenever we brought up the possibility of us moving there the locals would quickly start talking about how crowded it was and that they didn't need any more people (i forget what they kept calling me, but i could tell it was derogatory in nature) to move there. a couple times i even found out that these people had only lived on the island for 10 or less years themselves so how american of them to not want 'foreigners' on their land when they were in fact 'foreigners'.
there are some disgruntled older okinawans but i found even them to be smart enough to see the present for what it is. okinawa and hawaii are very similar in my opinion since they were both their own territory's before the US or Japan scooped them up.
i loved the beaches in okinawa, but sometimes there was a lot of sharp coral to watch out for, and i think my biggest challenges with kayaking around some of the pristine areas (shallows) is going to be watching out for where the coral is at especially if the tides are low. but thankfully the water is so clear it should make the coral a lot easier to spot. or maybe it will throw up the illusion that it is a lot closer to the surface because of the bending of the light through the water. i knew some kick ass snorkeling spots that were 40+ feet deep and i would sit on the bottom and wave to the scuba divers (well for 30 seconds until i ran out of air), but now i'm hoping to be able to access so many more snorkeling spots because of the TI that i can't hardly wait.
there are some amazing islands that you can camp on that are almost 5 miles apart 3 in a row and i would love to try to make it out there but the water is a little deeper and larger than the chesapeake bay where i presently puts around in.
you guys think you would sail 5 miles from one island to another if you knew the water was over 1,000' deep. i know its more about the tides and the current which I will investigate a lot more thoroughly once i get there by testing it and talking to those who know about it there presently, but the thought of such a deep ocean and such big fish is sort of a buzz kill for me. i remember when i was living there before we went out approx 2 miles in the other direction off the island and were sitting at the 2 mile buoy/ marker and the depth finder was reading 2,000 feet deep
but we were in a big fishing boat so i didn't mind,, being in a TI however may not be such a comforting feeling.