I recently got a book by Celeste Heiter, Ganbatte Means Go For It!: or... How to Become an English Teacher in Japan, published by Things Asian Press, 2002.
Ms. Heiter was teaching in Japan for two years, and in that time she was thoughtful enough to put together sufficient information to complete this book, a real help for newcomers to the country. Some of the topics that would be most helpful would be her list of ten "must do's." They are all spot on, especially her encouragement to learn some of the language before coming. My father remarked once when he visited that a working knowledge of the language would be a must to live here. Her "survival tips" are really helpful, too.
The one problem I had with the book came at the very end, where she writes, "Every foreigner who has ever lived in Japan realizes at some point that it is time to go." Go where? I think she means "home." Which for me and lots of other expats doesn't mean where we were before we came to Japan. That is a problem for non-Japanese living here, the "When you going home," mentality.
On the back cover of her book she has a quote by Mark Twain:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the one you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
In answer to her back cover I am going to use a quote from "Apocalypse Now":
SELL THE HOUSE
SELL THE CAR
SELL THE KIDS
FIND SOMEONE ELSE
I'M NEVER COMING BACK