Just a recommendation for anyone who thinks they will be living a long time in Japan; whether because:
1. They have a good job
2. They love the place
3. They are married to, or intend to marry a Japanese partner
You might want to consider saving yourself a great deal of rent expense by buying a home. Google 'buying foreclosed property in Japan" for more info, but some basic advice:
1. The Japanese prefectural law courts are tendering the sale of discounted properties way below market prices
2. The yields on Japanese property can be so high that renting is crazy. For instance, I paid just Y2.8mil for a 5br dormitory on 400m2 of land at Hanno, west of Tokyo. Its just 1hour from Ikebukuro, and I always get a seat on the train (Y420). There are better properties for less in depopulated rural areas.
3. Buy a house & land in suburbs to avoid apartment management fees, which are usually a rip-off.
4. Buy an old house with land lease if you insist upon living in the central city areas because the land rent can be extraordinarily low.
5. If you intend to stay more than 4 years in Japan, it would make more sense to buy there; particularly if you are earning yen, as all the major currencies are being debased.
The appeal of foreclosed property is that its a huge market; the Japanese investor is generally ignorant and risk-averse. The educated elite in Japan are more interested in office and residential complexes, not in managing houses, so you are really competing against real estate agents and home handymen who have limited resources.