Auzubillahi minash shaitan ir rajeem,
Bismillah ir rahman ir rahim,
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah,
I hope you find your stay very meaningful, exciting and enjoyable in Japan.
I and my family lived in Japan for 8.5 years. I did my PhD from there, had a baby, made lots of friends, and had lots of fun, alhamdulillah. Given another chance I would certainly go and live for a couple more years - we like Japan so much
The people are very kind and helpful. They like to learn much and interact with foreign people.
There are two major concerns for every foreigner (gijin) in Japan. One is the language and the other is food. You can learn japanese within 3 months, if you want to. In many "shimin centres" they run free courses for foreigners.
I am very strict about what I eat or feed my family, and followed all regulations of Islam, alhamdulillah to best of my knowledge. The only mistakes we made on occasions were when we had no idea that the food could be non-halal.
Depending on where you live, you can get hold of halal food products, and in an appreciable supply, if you are particular not to touch anything prohibited.
There are plenty of muslims, at least one mosque, an islamic centers, and few halal food stores in almost every big city. Furhter, there are several grocery stores in Tokyo which can parcel all kind of food (including frozen halal meat), within two days of your placing the order (by fax or even phone). There is also a japanese foodstore chain called "sato shokai". They can provide halal meat, on request.
Any food which even has trace amounts of alcohol should be avoided, and it was not impossible in Japan. There are brands of soy sauce and miso which do not contain alcohol - one needs to research the supermarkets and identify them. It is very easy never to touch mirin, which is a kind of brown sauce used on some mochi etc, but not all. You can easily avoid food that has mirin on it. Plain boiled rice is absolutely halal
btw, be very careful, dont trust any food that you see in conveniece stores, coz mostly everything contians something or the other that is not halal. eg, nyukazai is an ingredient, am still not able to figure its geletin or shortening or their sister, but is not halal. It is present in almost all brands of cakes, pastries, biscuits, breads, icecreams, margerine, butter, and yogurts. I am not trying to scare you, coz there are brands of all these things that are halal, but one needs to pick from the shelves carefully.
Another caution I would like to run bye you is for onigiri - the rice balls wraped in nori. Even when the label says "tuna onigri", do check the contents, coz sometimes they mix pork with tuna.
The best for you would be to learn a few kanjis, as they will help you identify the non-halal ingredients on food labels.
Life can be extremly convenient in Japan, given that one knows how to access that and is ready to spend on it. It is an asumption in the world that cost of living in Japan is very high ... which is true if one converts the price of everything in another currecy, but the situation is very comfortable if one takes the ratio between the salaries and cost of individual items.
My advice to anyone going to Japan would be to concentrate less on saving for a rainy day, rather spend on yourself and enjoy Japan, insha allah.
If you have any other questions please feel free to ask, insha allah I will help as much as I can.
Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.