Long distance calling and Skype
Calling long distance from Japan is quite expensive – recently, we called Seoul, South Korea to book our hotel and for about 10 minutes, it cost about 2,000 yen ($20).
We actually have been using Skype to call home (Canada). It is free using computer on both ends. Alternatively, you can call to a landline from Skype and it is quite cheap (only 2.4 cents/minute to Canada). It has been working very well for us and the quality is very good.
An alternative is mobivox.com, which I haven’t yet tried.