Because of the terms of my grant, I have a fare bit of money to spend on things that I will use for research. If any individual item costs more than 100,000円, the university will keep it when I go, and I have to spend half of the total funds before the end of the fiscal year in March. Last weekend I bought this multi-function printer, scanner, copy machine. It's all in Japanese, but I was able to download the English drivers and manual and it all works fine with my computer.
For the the last three days I was in Tokyo for an orientation organized by the agency that brought me over. Since it's by far the largest science funding body in Japan, bringing international researchers into Japan is only a small part of their general purpose. Most of the talks were about overall science funding policy in Japan and their role in it. Naturally, they have a substantial budget and they put us up at a nice hotel.
There were also talks on working in Japanese labs and learning Japanese that were pretty interesting. The hotel was located fairly near the Imperial Palace, so we did some tourist excursions to the palace and other nearby places.
My experience of Tokyo was a lot different this time. I can read enough Kanji now that I just bought a normal Japanese mapbook and was able to use that to navigate the two train systems and get everywhere I wanted to go with no real problem.