Well, I've successfully acquired my visa, so I can legally stay in Japan for one year now. It was really quite the process to get it though. I had to fill out some forms back in the US in February and mailed them to the TEAM office in Tokyo. They hand delivered them to the immigration office, and then we waited for the certificate of eligibility, saying that I was eligible for a visa. That came in the middle of March after I was already in Karuizawa. So I had to travel back to Tokyo, go to the immigration office, fill out a bunch more forms, and then they said, we'll mail you something in a few weeks when your visa is ready to pick up. So back to Karuizawa I went, only to return to Tokyo this Monday to go to immigration fill out some more paperwork, and finally get the visa.
Now, I'm working on getting my alien registration card here in Karuizawa, and once I get that, then I can open an account at the post office.... oh the work to move to another country.
But thank the Lord that I was able to get my visa while already here in Japan. In past years, one would have to get the visa before coming, or would have to leave the country, pick it up, and then return. So being able to get it while already here was easier, faster, and cheaper.