Anime Blog
Neverending New Beginnings: 2007

19 Dec 2007

Posted by


Vector Drawing


I watched BAMBOO BLADE the day before yesterday. There was this particular scene where it would look nice if I were to vectorise it. I spent most of the day doing this. It used to take longer until I discovered this "shortcurt".

11 Dec 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Minami-ke episode 10: "Boy x Girl"


Episode summary:
Chiaki’s friends bring up the Minami sisters’ names and how they are related to the seasons. When they mention another person who seemingly fills the missing gap, Touma, Chiaki decides to investigate. Upon seeing Touma, Chiaki first mistakes her for a guy. This becomes even more troublesome, as Touma is in the middle of an argument with a boy. When the boy refuses to lay his hands on Touma because she is a girl, she declares that she is a boy from now on. Chiaki prepares to leave after having seen enough, but she is suddenly knocked down by the boy that Touma pushed away. Chiaki gets an apology from Touma, but the two only start arguing more when Touma expresses that Chiaki is not that ladylike either. When Touma asks when Chiaki’s birthday is, Chiaki refuses to answer because of their relation to seasons. Chiaki is the fall, and Touma is the winter. Chiaki ends the argument by declaring herself the older sister, making her friends believe that Touma really has become Chiaki’s little brother. When Chiaki notices Touma’s appearance after school, she has Makoto preform a check for her.

While in class later, Makoto reveals to one of his friends that he has been learning how to cook. He goes on to show one of his techniques for preparing eggs, but is interrupted by the girls praising Chiaki. Makoto wonders why Chiaki is acting like she is good at cooking, so she states that it is because she is good at cooking. Makoto is weakened when Chiaki describes how she is always helping Haruka, but he turns to declare that Chiaki does not understand an egg’s soul. Makoto states that he truly understands because he is one with them, but when he invites Chiaki, he only gets a punch in the face.

When Haruka and Kana arrive home later, they find Chiaki with Touma in an awkward situation. They discover that Chiaki has brought Touma over as her little brother, but that she is actually a girl. Touma’s introduction is interrupted by Mako-chan’s entrance, but Touma recognizes him from somewhere. Makoto pulls Touma behind the curtains in panic, and explains to her why he needs to be a girl. He also brings up Touma’s need to be a boy, and makes her agree to keep this secret. When Touma returns to the table, she again starts declaring that she is a boy. Kana has her come over, and she lifts up her shirt to check this. She reveals that Touma is certainly a girl, if only more so than Chiaki. When Mako-chan continues to insist that she is a boy, Kana threatens to show him Touma’s chest too.

Later, Makoto declares to Kana and Touma that he will finally reveal to Haruka and Chiaki that he is a boy. When Kana describes her relation to Makoto, she and Touma notice that their names are like “mom” and “dad”. Makoto prepares to confess when Haruka and Chiaki return home, but Chiaki accidentally bites herself. A long silence is caused when Haruka starts applying lip balm to Chiaki’s lips, but Kana hurries Makoto. Makoto is once again interrupted by Haruka applying lip balm to his lips, but he finally declares that he is actually a boy. Haruka and Chiaki are not fazed at all, however, as they go to prepare dinner. Touma discovers that they only believe that Mako-chan is an ally of her own situation, so she suggests to Makoto that he may never return to being a boy.

Makoto finally gets all the details of his failure from Touka at school, so he decides to confess to Chiaki alone. When he fails the first time because of his direct approach, Touma tells him to do it more properly. Makoto returns to confess to Chiaki on his knees, but this only makes Chiaki kick him in the face. Later at the Minami household, Makoto still troubles about his confession. He prepares to transform as usual, but Haruka and Chiaki return at that moment. The two quickly get under the kotatsu because of the cold weather outside, causing trouble for Makoto who is hiding underneath. Kana begins kicking Makoto for fun, making Chiaki and Haruka wonder what she is doing. After watching a Ninomiya-kun special, Kana decides to have Touma preform her own magic. As Makoto is by her side for savior, Touma begins putting Makoto’s clothes underneath the kotatsu. Mako-chan amazingly appears afterwards, but Haruka and Chiaki are only slightly surprised.

I'm not sure if Touma is their sibling/cousin apart from having the same family name and in the same year. (Though I don't know the real age difference between Touma and Chiaki). Also, when I first saw Touma (from behind), I would easily mistake her as a crossdresser, since she looks and behaves very much like a guy but wearing the female school uniform. Makoto crossdress again as Mako-chan. Touma, Kana, and one of his classmates are now the only ones who knows Mako-chan's true identity. Seeing that "Minami-ke: Okawari" is due to start in the Winter 2008 season (just next month), I wouldn't be surprised (though sad) if this is one of the last few episodes of this version.

Sorry for not writing for the past few months. Was busy with school stuff and coming up with stuff for this (and the japanese language version) blog. I decided to try review some of the anime I watched recently and see how it turns out. Now that the December/Winter/Christmas break comming closer, I have more time to do things. Also, if you have noticed, I have managed to change the allignment and remove the [center] tags from the title. Also made major changes to 2 of my friendster profiles. At the current rate, the 1st and 2nd profiles may reach the limit (2999 people the last I heard).

10 Oct 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

watermarks of my drawings

For various reasons (including people copying and problems with the older ones), i have decided to add watermarks on drawings before 2 August 2007 and those after it, although those before 9 October 2007 are drawn by hand and had date drawn, my Yahoo! Japan email address, and a full url to the Japanese version of this blog.

I'm not sure if I have already mentioned this somewhere but since that incident, I have removed all my drawings from the imageshack server that do not have info relating to me (like blog url, email or nickname). Of course, this means my posts containing the old url cannot be displayed.

All drawings from date of this post have my 3rd friendster & myspace, japanese version of this blog, my new blog told from a viewpoint of a (fictional) japanese girl (still unsure on the content) urls. (with "http://www." omitted) All will be in text form. Existing ones will be covered over but remain visible as not to spoil much of the drawing..

Here's a (not so good) example:


Typed text are neater than handwritten ones, but if both are used at the same time, they don't look neat. Even worse if they are on top of each other. Images that i removed due to that and did not reupload immidately are added back (with the new watermark). All uploaded drawings can be found in the media box of my 3rd friendster account.

9 Sept 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Autumn 2007 anime (continued)

I found this image that shows the Autumn 2007 (平成19年) images. Names can be found below and my previous post. (Note: Image is 900x1346)

  • "ef - a tale of memories" is there
  • キミキス is there
  • what are those creatures for もやしもん?
  • 2nd season of "shakugan no shana" is there
  • no idea what こどものじかん is about
  • みなみけ seems interesting
  • there's a 2nd season of ひだまりスケッチ?
  • the entire row with CLANNAD -クラナド- seems intestering
  • "...ninomiya-kun" and "D.C. 2". (Why is there a "II" for a first season?)
  • There's a Maplestory anime???
  • Prism Ark
  • I would say that there's at least 7 in the above image that i wouldn't watch at all.

30 Aug 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

New 2007 Autumn Anime and list of dropped spring/summer anime

here are a list (extracted from of anime. Airing dates are correct as at 30 August 2007 and are subject to change. Anime that are in bold and italicased (including debut date) indicates that I am likely to at least check it out and after about 1-3 episodes (sometimes halfway through the series) decide on whether i would like to continue watching or drop it. I might watch the remaining when reviews by various anime blogs (mainly Random Curosity) are positive or when more info is available. Here they are:

Ghost Hound (神霊狩)2007-10-18 to ...
D.C. II: Da Capo II (D.C.Ⅱ~ダ・カーポⅡ~)2007-10-17 to ...
Shion no Oh (しおんの王)2007-10-13 to ...
Genshiken 2 (げんしけん)2007-10-12 to ...
Tales of Agriculture (もやしもん)2007-10-11 to ...
Jyūshin Enbu - Hero Tales (獣神演武 - HERO TALES -)2007-10-07 to ...
MapleStory (メイプルストーリー)2007-10-07 to ...
Mokke (もっけ)2007-10-07 to ...
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (機動戦士ガンダム00 <ダブルオー>)2007-10-06 to ...
Shugo Chara! (しゅごキャラ!)2007-10-06 to ...
Clannad (クラナド)2007-10-04 to ...
You're Under Arrest: Full Throttle (逮捕しちゃうぞ フルスロットル)2007-10-04 to ...
Dragonaut - The Resonance (ドラゴノーツ)2007-10-03 to ...
Mahō Sensei Negima! Parallel (魔法先生ネギま!Parallel)2007-10-03 to ...
Suteki Tantei Labyrinth (素敵探偵☆ラビリンス)2007-10-02 to ...
Sketchbook ~full color'S~ (スケッチブック ~full color'S~)2007-10-01 to ...
Bamboo Blade (バンブーブレード)2007-10 to ...
Goshūshō-sama Ninomiya-kun (ご愁傷さま二ノ宮くん)2007-10 to ...
Kaiji (カイジ)2007-10 to ...
Kimikiss pure rouge (キミキス pure rouge)2007-10 to ...
Kodomo no Jikan (こどものじかん)2007-10 to ...
Majin Tantei Nōgami Neuro (魔人探偵 脳噛ネウロ)2007-10 to ...
Minami-ke (みなみけ)2007-10 to ...
Myself ; Yourself
2007-10 to ...
Night Wizard The Animation (ナイトウィザード)2007-10 to ...
Prism Ark (プリズム・アーク)2007-10 to ...
Shakugan no Shana Second (灼眼のシャナⅡ)2007-10 to ...
Tensai? Dr. Hamax (天才?Dr.ハマックス)2007-10 to ...
Moonlight Mile 2nd Season -Touch Down- (MOONLIGHT MILE 2nd シーズン -Touch down-)2007-09-13 to ...
ef - a tale of memories
2007-08-24 to ...

Note: "ef - a tale of memories" on 2007-08-24 is the prologue and not the actual one which will start in october. "Hayate the combat butler (ハヤテのごとく!)" of Spring 2007 and "Higurashi no naku koro ni kai (ひぐらしのなく頃に解)" of Summer 2007 will still continue in Autumn 2007.

Dropped anime:
These are the anime that are currently airing (August/Summer 2007) but are dropped from my watch list or didn't even watch followed by a reason. (in the order dropped, starting with the most recent; ova's are not counted)

  • Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan Second : Doesn't seem to follow a particular pattern as compared to the first season, too many "we're sorry, but this scene is not suitable for watching" (i heard that there isn't any in the dvd version) with one that lasted ridiculously long.
  • Sky Girls: The first few episodes were good but there were too many filter episodes after the characters join an origination and control some flying machine
  • Potemayo: Some creature came out of the refrigerator and wants to make friends. The male characters at school wear a sailor uniform (pants to around knee-level instead of a skirt) which itself is scary.
  • Moetan: Too many ecchi scenes that they replaced a regular episode with a recap. The "transforming into a magical girl" doesn't seem to be of much purpose. The English used is not useful (to Japanese learning English).
  • Doujin Work: The 1st half of an episode is animated while the 2nd half is of seiyuu (voice actors) making their own doujinshi (which i'm not interested). The character is (indirectly) seem to be forced to make her own joujinshi with her group of (strange) friends. Reminds me of the first season of Comic Party.
  • Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: I'm not sure why but maybe it just stand out too much with the dull colours, hardly any animation for the op and too many things that are just too difficult/weird for me to follow.
  • Nanatsuiro Drops: A guy drank some drink and is turned into a stuffed animal every night (except during full moon) to help a girl who admires him with magic to collect something and so on...
  • Tetsuko no Tabi: The "making of" is intesting, but the anime itself is not. It's about 2 people traveling with a train freak to every single train station in Japan (a total of about 5000) and admire the atmosphere of each station and train. I got bored just watching the 1st episode.
  • Bokurano: A group of children came across a scientist who have developed a game world that greatly resemble their world but with machines that are programmed to destroy it. Too difficult for me to follow.
  • Terra he: The character design in the first few minutes of the 1st episode already gave me the signal to drop it.
  • Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: This show kinda lost the charm that was in the earlier seasons. The each episode have 4 different quality. the 1st one looked like it was broadcast using analog airwaves with poor reception in 4:3 with black bars. The 2nd one looked like standard definition in 16:9 that is the standard for any anime. The 3rd one is in high definition 760/1080 i/p with obvious difference with the 1st one and has a different feel. The 4th is the one released on DVD. In terms of video quality (giving it a different feel towards the show), it lies somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd. Some scenes may have some changes than the tv version like camera angle.
  • Seto no Hanayome: Idiotic parents bring hero to beach. Hero was drowning while swimming (and parents not watching over him). Hero was saved by a mermaid. Hero must marry the mermaid or both die for seeing each other. And so on. Never liked love comedy. (Reminds me of School Rumble Nigakki of spring 2006)
  • Idolmaster XENOGLOSSIA: same reason as Sky Girls above
  • Nagasarete Airantou: Hero runs away from strict father, got stranded to a female (human)-only island. Attempts to leave are impossible. All the girls (except the old lady and Suzu) chase after him in almost every episode (nosebleeding too).
  • Kamichama Karin: Based on a girl who doesn't know that she is a god herslf and people are after the power. Kind of the same boring concept as Nanatsuiro Drops. (The OP song gave me a headache!)
  • Kaze no Stigma: I forgot what it was about but the colours of the school uniform the main charater wears are ugly. Video quality of this (and idolmaster) lies somewhere between 1st and 2nd mentioned above in Nanoha. (The OP song gave me a headache too!)
The following are dropped after just viewing the trailer released before the show itself.
  • Baccano: "Italian for comotion but directo translates it as stupid noise...", set in 1930s New York, features many different characters (kind of messy already) and storyline revolving around a thing with ugly character design (but better than Terra he...).
  • Ookiku Furikabutte: It focuses too much in sports and i'm not interested in sports in general.
  • Lovely Complex: A short guy and a tall girl as tv presenters...
  • Over Drive: same reason as Ookiku Furikabutte
  • El Cazador de la Bruja: i don't like Mexican/old west themes too
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann: The characters looked ugly.
  • Romeo × Juliet: I also dont like Medieval themes in addition to sports and old west themes too.
Anime that are being considered to be dropped:
  • Darker than black: The recent episodes (Amber arc) are kind of boring to watch as compared to the 1st half although the animation quality is better than other anime i wathced (besides sola, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu and Lucky*Star).
  • CODE-E: The storyline was good but it seems to be getting nowhere from there. Even when Germans came to the main charater's school (as teachers) and observe her.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai: The 1st season was good but after watching somebody being killed/missing/died after a summer festival due to various reasons in a conservative town (Hinamizawa) taking place around 1983 and everyone except 1 in town dying from a massive outbreak sometime after rika dies (many times) repeately gets kind of boring. Also, the video quality (except the DVD releases) is somewhat similar to Kaze no Stigma.

9 Aug 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Really didn't want to post this but...

i really didn't want to post this but this has gone too far for me to ignore.

A person by the name of Uchiha Sasuke and Akaza Zala and Hiroko Haramoto , has been copying me from the way i phrase words to the images i upload there. I don't know what to do with him...

(further details at

3 Aug 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

new drawing

After not drawing for quite some time (the last was on April 22) due to school related things, handling 6 Friendster and MySpace accounts and some time after a certain incident, i had put up a scan of a new drawing I had just drawn.

(by the way, my birthday is this Sunday, August 5)

16 Jul 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

New Layout

I was wondering if I should use the new layout for the anime watch list on my friendster and myspace profiles. (The ones on my blogs will remain due to the fact that there are links and converting it to the new ones would be kind of confusing due to the nature of the long code (especially non-ascii text, which converts several characters like %A6 just to form 1 character) like of the URL of the link.)

Old layout:
Anime watch list:
Hayate the Combat Butler (Episode 16 of 52)
Darker than Black (Episode 15 of 25)
Lucky Star (Episode 14 of 24)
Bleach (Episode 100)
Dojin Work (Episode 2 of 12)
School Days (Episode 2 of 12)
CODE-E (Episode 2 of 12)
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (Episode 2 of 24)
Sky girls (Episode 2 of 26)
Moe-tan (Episode 1)

New layout:
Anime watch list:
Episode 1: Moe-tan
Episode 2: Dojin Work, School Days, CODE-E, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, Sky girls
Episode 14: Lucky Star
Episode 15: Darker than Black
Episode 16: Hayate the Combat Butler
Episode 100: Bleach

As you can see, the new layout looks neater but not possible to show the total episodes (if known) there. Also, as you can see, there are many episodes that are currently at episode 2 (summer 2007 anime). That means more coding is needed to type the japanese version (due to the nature of the system not supported; with the exception of MySpace Japan which is selectable when signing up. However, if you already have signed up prior to its introduction of that version (most likely the US version) and just select it via that international option, inputing non-ascii text would result in being converted to ?'s) and might go over to the next line. Also, there might be a need to resize the text itself.

In case you are curious what it might look like, here is the text version of the japanese version:
第2話:ドージンワーク、School Days、CODE-E、ひぐらしのなく頃に解、スカイガールズ
第15話:DARKER THAN BLACK -黒の契約者-

18 Jun 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Please read this: / これを読んでください:

[7 March 2009 edit: An updated list can be found here.]

My drawings should only appear at the following sites:

If you see them appearing on websites other than the ones listed above and claiming that it's theirs, they are lying. The person who owns the following URLs is trying to copy me from the layout right down to the images I put up at friendster (note: this person have configured the settings in such a way that only 2nd and/or 1st degree friends can view them.):,,
あなたが、それが彼等のものであると上に記載されていて、主張しながらそれらがもの以外のウェブサイトに載っているのを見るなら、それらはあります。 以下のURLを所有している人は私をレイアウト右から私がfriendsterで提供するイメージまでコピーしようとしています(注意: この人は2番目、そして/または、第1度友人だけが彼らを見ることができるような方法で設定を構成しました。): 、 、

(15 July edit: Added 2nd MySpace profile URL)
(7月15日の編集: 第2加えられたMySpaceプロフィールURL)

4 Jun 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

2nd day of the 5th month of the year 2007

(i know. I'm aware of lucky star (and code geass) being featured in june 2007 of Newtype Japan)

Okay, i know i have not been updating my blogs lately. i just don't feel like updating and not to mention that i have school (holiday is in june/july) and many different profile and blogs to maintain, i regularly update those at friendster. i receive a very long list of friend requests. especially at since the list there is almost 1000 (actually, it already has), i had to delete those with non-anime/japanese related display images but still accept at the other 2 accounts until either reaches the 1000 limit. (btw. i have a myspace account you can add to. the link is in my 3rd friendster profile).

Speaking of updates, i plan to correct the chinese name of one of the schools mentioned in my profile (you have to highlight to see everything) and the "anime i'm currently watching" on all the blogs (including the japanese blog). Updates to that can be found at the bottom of all my friendster profiles (with the 3rd being the most up to date).

Note1: I have dropped "Nagaserete Airantou" as at episode 8. I'm sick of seeing 19th century japan-like environment and nosebleeding comming from the only guy on the island. (the rest are females and odd looking animals and plants)

Note2: ODEX is the devil for being the only legal anime distributor here and provide low quality video and subbing.

Note3: It seems that only 2/3 of the anime i watch now (out of 8, more if you count those i have watched before) are licensed by ODEX. They are "Idolmaster Xenoglossia", "Darker than BLACK" and "Nagaserete Airantou". (oddly enough, even though "School Days" hasn't started airing in japan yet (though they have released a preview in 2005), they have already licensed it)

Note4: Seems that some poor guy has been caught for ilegally downloading anime (go to and look for blog entry around end-may/early-june 2007). Looking at the scan/pdf of the letter (dated mid-may 2007), it seems that person download subbed version of bleach and inuyasha from DB (dattebayo) and whatever site/groups i don't download from for the month of february of the same year.

Note5: Don't download subbed anime, especially popular ones ;) (hint hint) If you want to watch the subbed one and not support ODEX, buy those R1 DVD ones.

Note6: in the letter mention in note4, none of the downloads that "violate" (can't verify if the orginaisation the letter is from is legit) contains raws or non-latin based charaters. though i'm not sure about those sent to other people.

Note7: None of my friendster profiles contains my real name, including my main (3rd) acc. (though you need to add my real given name as the last name or 1 of the few email addresses with my real name in it to add me)

Note8: So long.... -_-

Note9: I should go update that list now.

Note10: Singapore sucks. Hot tropical climate (no winter), small land area (=dense population and expensive houses. a 5rm (200sqm)apartment (with minimal/no furnishings btw;) is already around SGD 300,000 (SGD1.5=USD1) and single houses in the 1mil range. Houses in the suburbs of other developed countries are barely even 50,000 and the size is larger.), might emigrate one day (most likely around 2018)

Note11: I want to marry someone from japan, move there and change my name and surname

Note12: Trying to understand japanese including both spoken and written.

Note13: Ok, enough notes!

3 May 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Japanese animation in Singapore

I was in Singapore the other day and noticed that the only anime that people talk about is "Naruto" and "Bleach" and whatever anime that airs on Animax (a cable/satellite channel that is headquartered in 港区 inside 東京都) and free-to-air channels. The only thing I saw on TV and the TV schedule was anime that I would consider "outdated" and "boring" (Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, Detective Conan) or where the subtitles and/or dubs spoil the anime (and maybe the video and sound quality too). If you look at "Anime I'm currently watching" at the side of this blog, you would notice that most are very new. So new that the episode mentioned there was aired in Japan less than a week ago.

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this earlier (could be on my Windows Live Spaces or Yahoo! 360 blog, not sure where) but there is only 1 distributer (Obdex or something like that) for anime and the quality (packaging, media used, video & audio quality, subtitles, language channel) is bad. Also, unless you look at certain branches of specialized stores (normally inside the large branches / located in a major shopping district), the manga found in Singapore are either English or Chinese translated versions and not the original ones. Note: The page ordering for the English verison is most likely to be reversed from the Japanese/Chinese verison. Name ordering is also reversed: Family name followed by given name.

20 Apr 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Visitor stats (18 Apr 2007)

here are the visitor stats for my friendster and myspace profiles as at 2007-04-18:

Singapore, Singapore
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 12:57:46 -0500
Singapore, Singapore
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 12:55:47 -0500
Singapore, Singapore
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 12:34:47 -0500
San Leandro, CA, United States
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 10:16:22 -0500
Cebu City, Philippines
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 10:11:35 -0500
Singapore, Singapore
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 09:31:41 -0500
Bintulu, Malaysia
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 09:00:31 -0500
Singapore, Singapore
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 08:49:14 -0500
Jakarta, Indonesia
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 08:28:40 -0500
Makati, Philippines
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 08:26:32 -0500
Makassar, Indonesia
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 08:03:35 -0500
Manila, Philippines
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 07:22:55 -0500
Kampong Baharu, Malaysia
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 07:09:07 -0500
Singapore, Singapore
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 07:02:32 -0500
, Singapore
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 06:44:48 -0500
Bombay, India
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 06:20:56 -0500
, United Kingdom
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 06:02:01 -0500
Cainta, Philippines
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 05:47:41 -0500
Kepuh Satu, Indonesia
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 05:35:50 -0500
Barangka, Philippines
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 05:31:42 -0500
Kampong Siam, Malaysia
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 05:03:51 -0500
Shenzhen, China
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 04:29:57 -0500
Singapore, Singapore
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 04:25:16 -0500
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 04:22:03 -0500
Jakarta, Indonesia
Thu, 19 Apr 2007 03:39:01 -0500

14 Apr 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Changed urls

(if you go to now, you would see the layout which my other blog was based on with some random information of a singaporean chinese girl (not me btw) i found on a site that offers different (and wordpress) layouts.)

I was navigating to when I saw a guy that is not me. (urls on MySpace cannot be changed). Also, a few months earlier, while searching for fnfd on youtube, i saw a video of a fire bridgage putting out a fire. On search on google, it turns out that FNFD means ??? ??? Fire Department and also something that has to do with stock market. Since my nick was not original to begin with (fnfd was shortened from flyernofoolsday (which itself is shorten from "a flyer which is not a fool on a day"), a name i used on neopets), I might as well create a new one from scratch. The new urls are based on the display name of my friendster accounts at time of typing. (1st: ' ' ' ' Konomi Fujimiya, 2nd: ' ' Yukari Fujimiya, 3rd: Yukiho Horie)

So here are the changes that uses the following:

fnfd -> fujimiyayuki
the1iam -> yukarifujimi
(asuna888 is unchanged)

Therefore, new accounts and places where the display name and/or URL can be changed, are with effect from 13 April 2007 (Friday). Note that some of the links still points to the old ones.

12 Apr 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Entry for April 09, 2007

(originally posted on my Yahoo! 360° blog and parts of it on Windows Live Spaces and the Japanese version)

I watched lucky star (らき☆すた) and found that the category of this anime is completely different from all the anime content as it is mostly conversation here were the questions asked:

Question 1:
If you can run so fast, why don’t you join an athletic club?
Answer: Because there weren’t any aliens, espers, or time travelers
Answer: Because I’ll miss the anime that’s on right after school, duh

Question 2: From where on a choco-crown do you start eating?
Answer: From the head

Question 3: Which side is the head? The narrow end or the fat end?
Answer 1: The narrow end. It’s like a shell
Answer 2: The fat end. It’s like a caterpillar …but that’s not too appetizing… *takes bite from narrow end*

Question 4: On a strawberry cake, when do you eat the strawberry on top?
Answer: Depending on the configuration of the cake, the timing can be different

Question 5: How do you eat the last bite of a popsicle? If you bite one side, the other will fall off!
Answer: What if you spin it?

Question 6: You’re only a second year! Why are you playing eroge’s and galge’s?
Answer: Heh

Question 7: I’m always running into things and getting my bag caught in the subway door, I wonder how I can correct that?
Answer: That’s not bad, that’s moe!
Question 7a: Moe?
Answer 7a: Dojiko-mode

Question 8: There’s an influenza outbreak, I wonder if I’ll get sick?
Answer: I’m stupid, so I can’t catch a cold =) (Japanese saying)
Question 8a: Ah, so you’re safe from colds, but how about influenza?
Answer 8a: …they’re not the same?

Question 9: By the way, how did you two become friends?
Answer: I saw her getting harassed by a big burly foreigner, so I went Ryu on his ass

Question 10: As a mega popular super-idol, how much money do you make?
Answer: …stfu

Here are the lyrics for the op (i tried following it but they sang too fast):

I My Something そりゃぷにってことかい、ちょっ
ら、ぐーんぐーんが制服 なぁふりってことない? うん
頑張っちゃ、やっちゃっちゃ、そんときゃ じゃリリース料
なんかたるー、なんかてるー、あいしてるー あれ一個が違ってる
むんむん むやみに暴行鉄棒おいしん棒 いいかげんにしなさい
ボンボン応援団 Let’s get cherry pie
らんらーん 関係感 you have センセーション
ハーイ 存在感 点々 小惑星 ぶつかって溶けました 呆然 大いに歌ってシリンダー
接近賛否それまでって躊躇だ やーん
頑張って 張り切って ま、ダーリンダーリンプリーズ

Here are the lyrics for the ED (the music sounds like someone singing from a karaoke room):
ダッダッダダダダ ダダ星の
宇宙強奪 ロボット軍
とべとべ 兄貴 スカイゼル
走れ 弟 グランゼル
ゴーゴー ジェット
ゴーゴー カー

In any case, as it falls in the same category as azumanga daioh, it may take a few episodes to get what is going on before i list it as a "to watch" or "to not watch" (see previous post to see what's already in the "to not watch" category.

(I like putting irreverent pictures for my entries)

12 April note: Corrected Japanese translation for "Anime I'm currently watching" at the Japanese blog and the bottom of the media box of all 3 of my friendster profiles. Also, the title has been changed
to "永遠の新しい始め" (literally translated as "Everlasting new beginnings").

25 Mar 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Frendster profile update details (23 & 24 Mar)

23 Mar:
Went to log in into the email for the 2nd acc and saw 140 unread messages (1st acc had even more in the same period of time) and marked all of them as read. Went to Friendster and was automatically logged in as the 3rd acc. Decided that the background img i put up the day before was ugly and reverted back to the one before it which itself was uploaded less than a week ago. Then, I went to my Windows Live Spaces blog and created a post on new anime that would begin in summer 2007 and copied Japanese names from In that list, i saw an anime that would begin in July. Copied the image and used it as the friendster profile (though i saw and saved a full and higher res ver on 2chan the day before). Changes made to that profile were my school (I used the 汉字 names and treated it like 漢字 (i had no problems as both uses the same charaters) and converted that to ローマ字), some in the "About me", my gender and status (for fun) and post a shoutout saying that I would update the below.

24 Mar:
I was looking at the "About me" and "Who I want to meet" on my main Friendster profile ( and posted a shoutout on people whom i don't know adding to that account and realized that some of the things I typed there don't make sense and the links kind of blended in with the sentence as you can't tell that it is a link unless you hover over it, which is troublesome due to the amount of text. My other profiles already have links well organized. Now I have managed to do it (though i think the links on my other profiles have too much spacing between links) and saved the number of characters for each section by removing and rephrasing sentences.

16 Mar 2007

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

info for living in japan (tokyo area)

(view the original article at (Images belong to there)
(part 1 - Buying property in Tokyo)

Why he decided to buy?
  • Apartments for rent are generally of poor quality - the walls are thin and materials used in general are dirt cheap - this is so that the landlord can make as much money profit as possible. The most rent I have payed is 220,000 yen per month and the walls in that place were so thin, you could hear the people next door. This is the main reason why I decided to buy - I just cant stand other people making noise for me to listen too!

    We tried different types of rented apartments - mansions, apartments and terrace houses - all literally made of paper and noisy as hell.

  • As long as you continue to rent, you will eventually have to move to another place whether its for work reasons or whatever. Looking for somewhere to rent in Japan as a foreigner is an unpleasant experience. Many landlords don't want to rent out to foreigners. When you go into an estate agent, you will be given a book of property leaflets to go through and occasionally see the "No Foreigners" checkbox ticked off. Some leaflets may have "No foreigners or pets"...
    The worst experiences are the ones where you are taken to look at a place and after you decide that you like it, the estate agent will call up the landlord in front of you and ask whether they are keen on renting to a foreigner. Some landlords just don't know how to say "no" and say "oh, if they want the place, they have to pay an extra 25,000 yen per month for a parking space" and they say this after being told that you don't have a car. Once, I said that I'll take the parking space to see what the reaction of the landlord would be and surprise surprise, they said no in the end. This is one of the most humiliating experiences you will have living in Japan.
    After going through this experience a few times, what I did was to make the estate agent call the landlord *before* we went to look at the apartments - this will save you a lot of time - but you still get the humiliation as the estate agent calls the landlord in front of you.

  • Another thing you cant do when renting is make any form of hole in the walls - you cant put up shelves and if you want to put up a satellite dish or install an optic fiber connection, you have to go and beg the landlord.

  • The best thing (not) about renting in Japan is that you have to pay something called "key money" - in Japanese this is called "Reikin" (礼金) which means "gratuity money". This sum of money which can cost anything from 2x to 3x the monthly rent, is paid to the landlord as a form of gratuity thanking the bastard. Did I forget to mention that you don't get your key money back?

    Apart from the key money, you usually have to pay anywhere from 2x to 3x the monthly rent as a deposit. This deposit is used to clean up the apartment after you leave and the landlord usually makes any excuse to keep a good amount of it. I had 60,000 yen charged for a small scratch on the wallpaper near the bathroom when I moved out an apartment once.
    Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that you have to pay the parasite estate agent a months rent for introducing you to the apartment - in Japan, you have to thank the estate agent AND the landlord!
    Now to add insult to injury, you have to pay another one months rent in advance too! so when I moved into that lousy apartment where I was paying 220,000 yen per month, I had to pay 1,540,000 yen upfront!

Why not to buy?
  • The average life span of a house in Japan is 25 years which is just one of the reasons why folks don't make these sort of purchases as an investment. Generally speaking, when people buy property in Japan, they usually plan to live there until their time is up.

  • The price of land in Tokyo varies and you could find yourself paying 1,417,000 yen per square meter in Chiyoda-ku (千代田区) or as little as 291,000 yen in Edogawa-ku (江戸川区) (Prices as of 2004. stats from Tokyo Metropolitan Government). Given the high price of land, its no wonder that most folks in Tokyo prefer to rent - most dont even think about buying a house. If you want a decent amount of land in decent area with good commuting routes, you are looking to dish out at least 45,000,000 yen for the land alone.

  • A "mansion" is a term used in Japan to refer to an apartment in a cement building. You can pick up a room in a mansion for cheap and I've seen prices starting at 15,000,000 yen. But be knowist that in general the value of the mansions drop by 10,000,000 yen the day you receive the keys! I do not recommend buying a mansion at all - once you have made the purchase thats it - the end. You cant do anything drastic in terms of layout (if you have your own land you can just knock down the house and rebuild) and you have to join the mansion committee where all owners of each apartment in the mansion have to get together to make decisions on common areas and crap. If you end up with a noisy neighbor then you are really finished.

  • I didnt buy for an investment and just wanted a place of our own. The price of land in our area has been increasing steadily since we moved in though which is nice ^^. The current plan is to move out within 5 years to a bigger place - need more space for all the toys n figures ^^. My goal is to get to my destination within 5 years form now meaning that we would be able to afford a bigger place. Nothing wrong with this house but we kinda want more space...

Where to buy?
  • This really depends on what you are looking for - somewhere close to work, somewhere near a park, somewhere with good transportation connections, somewhere near a store, somewhere cheap etc. Lets say you have a budget of about 70,000,000 yen and you are looking for a new decent sized house and dont mind traveling up to 45 mins to work (1 hour is the acceptable norm ) - I would suggest the west side of Tokyo. During the time I have stayed in Japan, I have always lived in the west and find that it is generally cleaner and safer on this side. Its also easy to get about as its well connected. I did go looking in the east as the price of land is way cheaper but some areas in the east can be quite rough.

  • Areas I personally recommend are Setagaya-ku (世田谷区) and Meguro-ku (目黒区) - nice areas with good commutation. Price of land in these areas average from 488,000 yen to 600,000 yen per square meter.

Where to look?
  • These are an example of the types of property on sale and you can find more sites like this by doing a search.

  • You can also get yourself along to your local convenience store to find magazines filled with information on new properties.

  • Alternatively, you can just get yourself along to an estate agent and tell them what you are looking for. If you arrived at a decent estate agent, they will have access to a national database called REINS (Real Estate Information Network System). Most properties for sale are registered in REINS and it is likely to have what you are looking for. The only people who can access REINS are evil estate agents so most people end up having to pay the estate agent fees - in our case it was bloody 3,000,000 yen.

What to buy?
  • Well I've mentioned a bit about buying a mansion - don't do it! So you basically have a few choices....

  • Buy a new house with some land attached. This is the quickest option if you are in a rush and want to start off with something new. This type of purchase is called Tateuri (建て売り) where you purchase a bit of land that comes with a new house built on top. The seller obviously wants to make as much of a profit as possible so you will find that some of the materials used for a Tateuri house can be a bit cheap. The seller will add useless features like floor heating (Yuka Danbou (床暖房) - just like what we have in our house. My fart can warm up the room to a temperature higher than the the lousy floor heating.

  • Buy a second hand house. When you are buying one of these - you are essentially paying for the land and getting the house for free as it will generally be worth next to nothing. Do your research to make sure that you are paying just for the land and a few yen on top for the house - the previous link to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government page is a good place to start. A few people I know buy second hand houses, live there for a while then knock down the old place and build a made to order house - Chumon Jutaku (see below).

  • Buy some land then build a house to order. This is the best option if you are not rushed for time and is called Uri Tate (売り建て). What you do is to buy a bit of land then work with an architect to build your house to your needs. Chumon Jutaku (注文住宅) is the word to describe a built to order house. The only "drawback" is that you are already repaying the loan while you wait for your house to be built - so every month, you will be paying rent at the place you are staying and the monthly loan installment.

    The process of designing a house is fairly straight forward - tell your architect how much money you have to spend and she then goes away to come up with a plan which makes you go "Wooo!" But then you find out that she went above your budget and that its going to cost you an extra 5,000,000 yen which then makes you go "You crazy #$&$!" What happens next is that you start to remove bits from the plan to bring the costs within your original budget. Typically, houses are made of wood and for a 3 story house with 60 square meters on each floor, you are looking at anything from 10,000,000 yen upwards.
Building regulations
There are rules and regulations restricting you to the type of design you want. Here are some of them...
  • Kitagawa Shasen (北側斜線) - is a restriction put in place to prevent buildings blocking out the sun for smaller dwellings. This means that depending on the location of your house - you may be imposed to have a diagonal roof. This is one of the reasons why you may have noticed that many buildings in Japan look like they have had a diagonal slice taken out of them

  • Kenpei Ritsu (建ぺい率) - is a restriction to prevent one from using up 100% of their land to build something. Without this restriction, given the lack of space in Tokyo, folks would use up 100% of their land meaning that there wouldnt be any open space! (no spaces between houses). We actually own half of the road in front of our house - without this restriction in place, if I wanted to be a right wanker, I could use up my bit of the road so no traffic could pass. The Kenpei Ritsu for our property is 60% meaning that I can only use up 60 square meters of our 100 square meters to build something. Kenpei Ritsu varies by location - you learn this value when you are looking at land to purchase.

  • Youseki Ritsu (容積率) - is a restriction to prevent you from building the tallest building in Tokyo. The Youseki Ritsu for our land is 200% meaning that we can build something that amounts to 120 square meters (we can only use 60% of our land because of the Kenpei Ritsu - amounting to 60 square meters. 60 X 200% = 120 square meters). We have 3 floors that roughly add up to 40 square meters each but we could build a 4 story house but the total floor space has to still amount to 120 square meters and given the Kitagawa Shasen (diagonal roof restriction), we'd end up with a pretty strange shaped impractical house.

  • Zettai Takasa no Seigen(絶対高さの制限) - is a restriction in place to prevent one from building anything over 10 or 12 meters high.

  • Nichiei Kisei (日影規制) - is a restriction to ensure that the surrounding buildings get a certain number of sunlight hours. For example, A building within X meters has to receive X number of sunlight hours per day during the winter season. This restriction also affects the height and shape of the sort of house you can build.

How big/small?
  • I've mentioned it a few times but the land of price is on the expensive side - 60,000,000 yen (for example ;-) for 60 square meters of land is not exactly a bargain. The building restrictions could mean that you end up with a property smaller than you initially hoped for. If you are willing to travel further out of Tokyo - you could obviously get a bigger place compared to Tokyo.
    I guess you will have to get used to the idea that the more land you want, the more limbs you are going to have to part with.
Loan and stuff
  • Applying for a loan and the zillion documents involved in the whole house buying process is just overwhelming. If you are a foreigner in Japan - on a working permit and don't have a Japanese spouse, then you will be glad to know that you can get a mortgage with Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank (MUFJ). At the time, Mitsubishi Bank was the only bank I knew of that loaned to foreigners in Japan who didnt have permanent residency. Mitsubishi UFJ do have some hefty conditions though - you can see all the documents you need to apply for a loan at MUFJ's site which include yearly income statement, seal registration certificate (this sort of seal), passport, health card etc. And you also need docs regarding the property you want to buy including certificate of purchase, schematic layout of property and a ton of other crap.

    Our estate agent offered to apply for the loan for us but we decided to apply ourselves - always better to try to go through these type of experiences yourself - no matter how painful. It doesn't cost extra to have the estate agent apply for you - they just probably get a kick back for introducing your application to the bank.

  • If you are deciding on getting a second hand house, bear in mind that the interest rate will be higher - banks are interested in property they can sell at a high price incase they have to evict you when you cant make the monthly payments. The interest rate in Japan is very low - we got our mortgage at 0.95% for the first 3 years and then 2.75% for the remaining 17 years. We took out a 20 year loan but aim to pay that back within the next 7 years - within 7 years we plan to move to somewhere bigger - at least 3 times as big judging by the rate of this place getting filled with toys n figures ^^;
Other hints and stuff
  • You can knock off a few million yen from the original price of the property and a certain amount from the estate agent fee. Make sure you dont forget to do this!

  • If you are going for a new house, the chances are that the net windows (allows you to open the windows without letting in pesky insects) are not included. Make sure these are included in the price or you will be charged extra for them - they are not cheap either. Our net windows cost a poxy 160,000 yen. Laundry pole racks are not included either (they should be) so make sure they include these too before you decide to buy

  • Ari san are the folks you should choose to help move in your stuff - have a look at the video clip to see why.

  • If possible, talk to some of the people living nearby to get a sense of what the area is like - are their any Bousou Zoku (暴走族) - folks who go around in packs on motorbikes and generally like to make as much noise as possible at 4AM (many in Yokohama).

  • check up to see if the house is in an area where you can get decent internet connection. Most central places in Tokyo can be set up with an optic fiber connection by NTT (the phone company) - some places in the sticks could only be ADSL or cable - make sure your place will get a decent speed.

OK, enough talk - lets look at some pics.
This is us taking a look at something that the estate agent thought fitted our needs. What usually happens is that s/he will find about 6 - 10 places that fit your needs/budget and then try to convince you that the graveyard in front of the property is a sign of good luck.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
(Click image to enlarge)

These are the floor plans that the estate agent will fax you. If you dont have a fax handy, insist that they mail them to you. One of the things I still find quite surprising in Japan is how many industries still rely on faxes.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
The estate agent is your friend for the next few weeks and you will find yourself calling him everyday about the pages of documentation that you need to sign and write your address on.
After the ordeal is over, you can put the agent on your hate list.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
Some of the places that you may be taken to look at are unfinished places like this one. I really don't recommend deciding on something when its looking like this and the chances are that many others wont either. If you like the area, wait a bit more when the building is ready to enter and go back for another visit.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
Here are some pics of our place a year on after moving in.
Starting off with the spare room which is also the guest room.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
Third floor by night. Added a ton of shelves for the toys n figures recently.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
Third floor by day.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
In most cases, the steps are going to be really small! Most stair cases in Japan are not wide enough to fit stuff like sofas or refrigerators which is why they are brought into your house through the windows.
Dining area. One of the annoying things about buying an out-of-the-box house is that you will find things in very strange places - we have a phone socket in the stairway, air conditioning sockets where there isn't enough space for an air conditioner, etc etc.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
More dining. The kitchen area in the back comes with whats known as a "system kitchen" which is basically "kitchen appliances which fit together nicely." Our one comes with a dish washer which is 3 times smaller than the one we had in Seattle. Sometimes it can be quicker to wash by hand than spending time cramming everything into it!
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
Entertainment area.
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)
Our plasma has survived two international moves and has been alive for about 4 years now - who said that the plasma life span is short?
Tokyo Property Purchase (click to enlarge)

(Note: Some stuff are edited out. Edited out stuff include how a gundam figure would look like at a place and how crazy the property agent/landlord is. The same applies to the below.)
(Part 2 - Ikea Japan)
(below is from another article from the same website)

Soon after relocating to Japan, you'll want to get some essentials like figures. After that you'll probably want some furniture.
For most of the years spent in Japan, I got a lot of my furniture from Tokyu Hands - the department store that sells just about everything under the (rising) sun. Tokyu Hands have many stores in Tokyo so its convenient to buy stuff. I think could be because they have a hefty rent bills to pay that they sell everything at retail price.

Muji and FrancFranc are other places that I get stuff from and the online store Rakuten is another good place to look.

It wasn't until recently however that Ikea decided to give Japan a try and enter the market. I didn't understand what all the fuss was about and heard many including Roy complaining about the service. My wife had driven down to Ikea in Yokohama many times and convinced me to make the trip.

Despite getting there early there were a ton of people lining up to get in!
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)
(Click image to enlarge)

If you are used to Ikea stuff then the new stores around Tokyo will come as a welcome relief. It was only when I made the trip when I realized why Ikea is so popular - the stuff is dirt cheap and quality is quite good - some of it is crap though.
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)
This wall mountable shelf was 9,900 yen - dirt cheap! I suppose you can adjust the shelves and put in bigger figures though.
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)
Did I mention that people in Japan love to form queues? Take something to fidget around with (NDS, PSP, Figure etc) when you are in Japan as queuing is a way of life.
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)
Got fed up of the tables on the third floor and decided to get new shiny ones. Throwing together a leg - each leg cost about 3,000 yen.
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)
Room with the previous tables removed. Dont you just love wires?
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)
This is what the room currently looks like - for comparison, it used to look like this.
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)
We got two sheets of glass - each costing 8,000 yen - total of 28,000 yen for the lot. Each measured about 150cm X 8cm. Kept one old table and decided to chuck the other.
In Japan, you cant just throw big stuff away and need to first contact your local ward office and let them know what you want to get rid of. They will tell you how much it costs and arrange for a time to come and pick up your unwanted stuff. You then get your booty along to your nearest convenient store, buy a Sodai Gomi(粗大ゴミ) (Bulky garbage) sticker to stick on the side of your trash and chuck it out on the day and time arranged between you and the ward office.

If you want, you can be a good citizen and stick out your unwanted table/TV etc nearby your house and leave a note saying "please take." If nobody takes it because your table has brown smelly skid marks on it, you should continue to be a good citizen, bring it back to your house and deal with it as described above.
This is the reason why some of your friends may tell you that they find free electronic goods and furniture lying around the streets.
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)
Just thought I would show you what that shelf of figures currently looks like - I need another shelf somewhere.
Ikea Japan (click to enlarge)

(Part 3 - Work in japan)

1. Look for employment with a company that is likely to expand its operations to Japan or already has offices here.
Depending on the type of company and position, there could be the possibility of an international transfer. If you are being asked to come over, make sure you get a good package. You should look for things like a moving bonus to cover any misc expenses that are incurred ( like selling your dog or something ).
You should expect things like Key money to be paid (read about Key money for apartments) for your apartment, corporate housing while you are looking for a place to stay (even better if the company pays your rent), car rental etc. Regarding moving expenses, usually you will get an air and sea shipment. Stuff that you really need when you touch ground in Japan ( like a bunch of figures ) should obviously go by air – stuff that you don’t need straight away ( like clean clothes to change into ) can go by boat. If you have Airguns like I did – chuck them in with all the toys.

2. Look for opportunities in Japan
This was the path I took with Nature. I found the job listing at a recruitment company that specialized in English and Japanese speaking persons. I was interviewed in the UK and then sent to Japan for a week of interviews and tests. I got the job and went back to the UK to hand my resignation into Japan Airlines, packed and got the hell out of that dump! Joke. Its not that bad in the UK – its just not where I want to build my career/live/play. Your company should sort out the visa for you if you choose this path.
The site was London based People First - crap website but legit company.

3. Apply for the JET program.
The Japanese Exchange Teaching program is run by the Japanese government. Each year, they take English speaking persons and ship them to Japan to teach English in schools throughout the nation. While you are not going to get rich quick ( annual salary of roughly 3,600,000 yen ), it is a good way to get in to Japan. Many people I know who were on JET looked for other opportunities while they were on the programme. One of my university colleagues came to Japan on JET and went on to become the CEO of a top recruitment firm in Tokyo within just a few years. He just recently bought a house for about 90,000,000 yen to house his newly born baby (expensive baby). He is a good example for those who do intend to initially come over on JET and move on to other things - I hope his story keeps you focused if you choose this path ^^.
And if you are wondering, you dont have to be an English native speaker. I know a few Malaysians and HK folks on the program.

All the people who I know who are still on JET want out. Many don’t want to make a career out of it. Some of the folks I knew had to leave Japan when their time was up - JET don’t keep you in Japan forever. JET may also stick you in the middle of nowhere like some small suburban town far far far away from Akihabara ^^;
What I advise is to look for opportunities when you are on JET. Always keep your options open (which you should do where ever you are.)

English schools like NOVA also ship persons over to Japan but I hear that they treat you like something that you wipe off the bottom of your shoes after a brisk stroll through a pig sty. A friend of mine came over on a Nova visa but was offered a job from another company when he arrived. He gave Nova the bad news and they threatened to sue him! This guy now runs his own company conducting tours in Japan.
I believe you get some sort of teaching visa through JET or other schools like NOVA.

4. Start your own company in your home country and then set up a branch JP office.
JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization ) have guides on how to set up a business in Japan. If you Parents have a business, get them to set up office here and ship you over. Once this is done you will be able to apply for a business visa.

5. Start off as a student.
Some folks who I know came over to take an economics course (or something) at university. I have no idea what the cost is but once your course has been officially confirmed, you can apply for a student visa.
A Korean guy I know came over as a student and ended up working part time for me as a perl programmer. He went on to work for a net related translation service and is doing rather well for himself (he just had a baby too ^^). Have a look at the links at Meikai University or Waseda University for pointers.

6. Take a Japanese course at university in your home country.
Many courses involve staying for a full year in Japan. While you obviously have to go back to your home country to finish the course, the time spent over here will be invaluable and give you a taste of what its like to live over here. You may hate it after all (unlikely though ^^). Network as much as possible while you are here in the area that you are interested in working in.

7. Come as a tourist and overstay.
This is not an option and if you do it once then you probably wont be allowed back into Japan.
A ton of asians do this and give the rest of the asians who are over here legitimately a bad image. The info showing which nationality is the worst at overstay is at the Immigration page but I cant find it.

8. Look for jobs on the net and then come over for a few weeks to attend interviews.
Job, cover a lot of jobs available in foreign capital companies over here. Have a look on those sites and apply online. If you have a glowing resume then you could potentially come over for interviews. If your resume glows so bright that one would need sunglasses to read it then the potential employer may pay for expenses or arrange for you to interview at one of their branch offices in your home country. If your resume glows so brightly that one is at risk of going blind from the sheer quality of your skills then contact me - I can put you in contact with the right recruiters to place you ^^.

It costs a company nothing to sponsor your visa. The immigration needs to see your company’s brochure and some document available from the local ward office to prove that the company you are going to work for is legit. Other things needed are a letter of employment and a statement showing how much you earn (I think – I forget). But that’s generally it.

How much will you earn?
Well that obviously depends on the type of work that you are coming over for and the company that you are joining. The national average wage in Japan per person is 4,094,000 yen ( stats from Ministry of internal affairs statistics bureau - figures from 2004 ). But that doesn't exactly go far when you have expensive hobbies like figure collecting ^^;
The numbers below are what I have personally experienced as a hiring manager at Amazon and Microsoft and through friends in related industries.
Disclaimer: I am not saying that these are the numbers that you will receive in either AMZN or MSFT.
Visa stuff
Depending on the type of visa you receive, you are usually given a year the first time round. To get your extension, you need to be working ( but not necessarily at your original place ) full time. You should try to stay in employment with your first employer for at least a year and then you will get a three year extension. I hear that if you quit jobs within the first year that you will only get a one year extension (can anybody confirm?). In my case, I stayed with Nature for about a year and a half. When I left Nature, I still had a visa sponsored by Nature but that does not matter as long as you go to report to immigration that you have changed jobs. You should also go to the ward office to report changes to your visa status too.

Things can get a bit dodgy for you if you remain unemployed on a working visa for more than 3 months.
Once you reach five years of fulltime employment in Japan, you are entitled to apply to naturalize to be a Japanese. Alternatively you can wait for ten years and then apply for permanent residency.

Once you are over here, you may want to buy a house after a while...