If you’re hoping to go to Japan after graduation you’ll want to start planning during your junior year.  Most of the programs and job fairs have deadlines in the fall semester of your senior year, but some are in early summer after your junior year.  You’ll need at least a month to prepare the applications for these programs, often longer.  Successful people have a high tolerance for rejection, and apply for many different options.
Career Forum: The Career Forum job fair in Boston for Japanese-English bilinguals is the best opportunity to land a business job in a major Japanese city.  Both Japanese firms and non-Japanese firms with offices in Japan are represented.  Wear a suit, bring copies of your resume, and register before you go. The job fair is held every fall in October:
JET (Japan Exchange Teaching) Program:  JET is a very well-organized and well-funded program run by the Japanese government through which you can teach English in Japanese schools (usually middle and high school level) for 1-3 years as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT).  If you have strong Japanese skills you are also eligible for the Coordinator of International Relations (CIR) position, which focuses on translation and interpretation.  Applications are due in December, and are available from the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago:
English-conversation schools:  English-conversation schools are a major industry in Japan where all sorts of people work to improve their speaking and listening skills in small, one-hour classes a few times per week (usually capped at around 6 students).  There are several national chains of these schools, some of which recruit and interview in North America and offer work-visas before you leave.  Here are some of the main companies:
Monbukagakusho Research Fellowships:  MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) research fellowships are a wonderful way to study as a research student at a Japanese university.  The fellowship includes a tuition-waiver and living stipend, and requires that you find a professor at a Japanese university willing to supervise your research (this form is required at the time of application).  The application is due very early: June in the summer after your junior year, and interviews and written exams are conducted that July.  Grantees may begin the fellowship in either March or October of the following year.  Applications are available from the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago:
Fulbright IIE Student Program: Fulbright awards for graduating seniors allow you to design and carry out a research project of your own design, typically with an affiliation at a Japanese university.  The application process is done through the on-campus liaison in the International Institute, and the deadline is mid-September of your senior year:
Most translation work is freelance, and it takes several years to build up enough connections to make a living from this kind of work.  If you want to make a career as a translator, I recommend starting by doing it on the side while living off of a steadier job.  Here are some recommendations recently posted to H-JAPAN by Peter Durfee:
I recommend the Honyaku mailing list:
Job offers come to the list fairly regularly. Many of these are fielded first at the Honyaku Home website, where you can set up a free account and list your language pairs, specializations, and so on:
Other groups to look into include SWET and JAT. They both have mailing lists (the former open to nonmembers) and hold regular meetings in Tokyo. The lists see job offers from time to time, and the meetings are a good way to make connections with language industry people:
There are publications aimed mainly at native Japanese speakers like 通訳翻訳ジャーナル which contain long lists of translation agencies. If you send out your resume to a few dozen of them you may get some bites. The magazine is available in most big bookstores in Japan and there's some of its content available online as well:
The big language service firms generally have open calls for freelancers. You could do the trials at places like Simul International: