First, everything is in Japanese! Every piece of paper given to me regarding my internet installation was written in kanji. This included all the instructions. My router software is in Japanese only. The software provided by the internet company was Japanese-only, which meant it was very difficult to install (and it still didn't properly install).
Second, Japan (at least, the internet service I use - NTT) uses PPPoE, a login protocol I wasn't familiar with. You sign up with a line provider and a service provider and you get IDs and passwords for both. It turns out I only needed the one from my service provider to login, but I wasn't sure of this.
Third, the person who set the account up for me stressed strongly the need to ensure everything was up and running on the installation date. I'm not sure what would have happened if I didn't, but I was afraid I'd mess something up and have to wait another week or two for service.
It turns out that for the most part, my worries were unfounded. So some tips to anyone going through a similar process:
If they tell you that you can install the service on your own, it's not too tough a job. This is especially true if (a) you know where your phone line is in an apartment - even if you don't have phone service and (b) if you've set up your own internet/network devices in America or other countries (I'm guessing). There's a modem that connects to the phone line, to which you then connect your router or computer.Now that my internet is up, I can finally get back to writing posts daily or at least every other day. I've done a good bit of exploring in Tokyo and I have a lot to write about, so hopefully tomorrow I'll pick a good topic for everyone.
If you're using a router, the service provider ID and password get entered into the PPPoE settings in the router. PPPoE was written in "English" in the menu of my Buffalo-brand router, under the Internet tab (again, in English). Then I just matched the characters for user ID and user password on my service provider's sheet.
If you're connecting the modem directly to your computer, you need to set up PPPoE on your own machine. You don't need to install any special software if you're running Vista or newer, but I recommend searching for instructions on how to set up a PPPoE connection. It isn't hard to do and the instructions will be the same whether you're connecting to a Japanese network or an American network.
It was very easy to identify the user ID and password on my service provider's sheet. They provided a couple different IDs and passwords, though - so if this is the case, use the first set provided. I am making the assumption that you've hooked up a home network before, though. If you haven't, it might be best to find a friend with experience setting up this sort of stuff. Working with kanji is very difficult if you don't read it, and not having an idea of how to set up a router can make this task impossible when everything is in kanji and you don't know what to look for.
I will say, now, that the most difficult part of living in Japan continues to be the language. I can translate most websites fairly well using Google's translation tool, but it doesn't work when I'm in the grocery store staring at something that could be fish, pork, or chicken. Or octopus balls, as it seems I ate Sunday night. I'm always able to get the basics down to get what I need, and most of the questions I get asked tend to be the same so I have got in the routine of answering a certain way when I get a question, or just answering before I get asked.
For example, when I buy bento (takeout) meals at the convenience stores, most of the time they'll ask if I want it heated. When I go to a restaurant that has takeout or sit-in meals (i.e. McDonalds), I'll know to say "eat in" (pointing down) or "takeout" (pointing towards the door) - most seem to know "takeout" anyway. Japanese convenience store employees are very good about using gestures - they'll wave at the screen when telling me their total, they'll point to the microwave or hold up a spoon, etc. And again, most stuff is so routine, I can figure out what they're asking or saying.
But still, amongst all the noise and talking around and with me, I live in a fairly quiet, isolated world when I'm not at work. But that's a post for another day. And not tomorrow.
Here is one of the most popular songs in Japan right now - the only one I ever seem to hear: