For the first time in a long time, I'm a gakusei (student)!
I began the search for a Japanese language institute when I was in California but got overwhelmed by the sheer number of schools available. When we finally arrived in Japan, I made a spreadsheet and began contacting all of the schools in the area. Surprisingly, my search ended up being pretty easy. There were few that still had availabilities in the fall (and some were even full for winter!) but I was able to book interviews with a couple.
The first school was one train stop away - very convenient - but they were a small establishment and didn't seem to be very comfortable with foreigners(!). The interview on the following day was a completely different experience. They were friendly, informative, organized, and had a fun, welcoming classroom environment. I liked it right away! Thankfully, they had one spot left in their "Intensive Crash Course". This class is four weeks long, three hours a day, and focuses on conversation. I'll definitely be busy this month!