Yes indeed, it turns out the Japanese government doesn't mind having me around that much, because I spent a fair chunk of last Tuesday at the immigration bureau (a pain in the ass to get to, though once you're there, it's not that bad... usually) picking up my brand spanking new resident card.
I'd intended to do a much more thorough post on this, and I can if there's interest, but I've been exhausted for all sorts of reasons lately and I'm more interested in just getting something put up here than in going in depth with the links and stories at the moment.
Basically, though: Despite my employer being very new here (only a few months old; it's a branch of an American company), despite having to mail in missing paperwork after I'd initially submitted my application, and despite this apparently being a very busy time at the immigration office, it took them one month to the day from my first trip to The Bureau to approve my work visa and issue a new residence card. Pretty great!
As is apparently typical, for the first term, my visa is only good for one year. However, the renewal is by all accounts more of a formality provided you're still employed when it rolls around, so I'm looking forward to a bump to 3 and then to 5 (and, if I'm still here at the end of all that, to applying for permanent residency).
More immediately, though: My employer -- being tiny -- doesn't have the resources to handle applications. Even doing it myself, though, it was not at all a big deal, which was a pleasant surprise; provided you know where to look, the requirements are actually laid out pretty clearly.
Now I'm looking forward to heading back to the US for a couple weeks at the end of the year to enjoy some real winter and get some serious family time in before I'm stuck in this tiny, boring, uninteresting little town* with my homogeneous, dull, homebody friends* and my inattentive, cold, homely woman* for another barely-endurable* year. Ah, pity me!*
* Warning: May contain sarcasm.