Here is a basic rundown on our salary. Those who are considering working in Morioka will probably find this quite useful.
The figures are all in yen. To make it easy (and about 15% inaccurate in your favor) you can simply think $1= 100 yen.
Annual Salary: 3,600,000 yen
Monthly Salary (gross): 300,000
Health Insurance: 12,500
Apartment Rent: 42,000
Gas: 5,000-8,000 (**)
Cell Phone: 2,000-4,500 (at the low end, I use only two or three times a month; the high end assumes fairly frequent use but no excesses like TV, etc)
Internet: 3,200-4,500 (price just depends on where you live and the services that are available)
Bicycles are wonderful. However, you may be up to an hour or so by bike from your school. When it gets really cold, this can be bad, so thankfully there are some buses. One can apply for reimbursement for the bus expense to and from the school.
School fees: 0-5,500
Some schools have a snack fee that you can optionally pay to eat snacks at the school. Other schools-- well, mine only actually-- collect large fees each month for, well, it's not exactly clear, but you may not be able to avoid paying it.
Net after rent, utilities, and mandatory deductions: ~190,000-210,000 yen/month
Water, electricity, and gas usage assume conservative but frequent use. My apartment has slightly higher rent than some of the others.
(*): The government returns the pension money at the end of the program, assuming we complete our contract, which is a nice little bonus at the end of the two years.
(**): Gas price is confirmed after a few months of being more expensive than originally posted. Hot showers of even moderate length are expensive. The monthly fee (for any use) is about 2000 yen; after that, it's what you use.
Final note: nearly all bills are paid by direct deposit (it's set up as part of your orientation) so the only way you'll screw up payment is if you overdraw your account.