I'm happy that this blog is helping future gaidaisei prepare for their abroad in Japan. So basically I have been procrastinating/busy since my last post. I still feel that longing for Japan every time I sign on facebook when I see people who extended their stay rub in my face with their photo albums and status that they are STILL in Japan. ahem. But anyways,
Study Abroad Student
A sempai of mine told me that mailing stuff back home is very expensive unless you are from Austrailia. So pack the limit of two carry one suitcases and half pack both. Japan is a highly industrialize country so whatever you need you can buy (you just have to figure out the katakana.) If you are going to Kansai Gaidai, they are going to give you a tour of the area. Don't worry. But on the first night you need a towel and travel sized tolietries like toothpaste, shampoo, and soap.
For some reason, many official looking signs in Japan are both in English and Japanese. You can use common sense to figure out many things. When in doubt observe other people. There is a lot more English in the country than you think.
For people who have limited fluency in Japanese, Kansai Gaidai has many Japanese level classes that can help you. I met a lot of people who went to Japan without knowing the basics of the culture or language. They had a great time, survived, and learned a lot.
If you aim to become fluent. Bring some english based games like scrabble or apples to apples. Japanese students can translate the words for you in Japanese and you can explain it to them in English or Japanese. You can buy children's kanji workbooks or manga to gain literacy. Just some ideas....