I spent the last couple of months apartment hunting in Tokyo. At first I hoped to get my own apartment, but after realizing that would require an initial payment of $3000 plus to an agency, I started to look for a roomshare.
Fortunately, there are some nice websites out there. I replied to several ads and even put up one of my own. I ended up exchanging a lot of emails with Japanese people, and the thing that surprised me was that in nearly all cases, they began mails with 「last nameです」 or 「first nameです」, so 「田中です」 or 「洋平です」 This continued no matter how many emails we exchanged, which I thought was weird at first. Of course I knew who the person was. Did they really think I had forgotten?
I eventually started thinking of it in terms of airbag phrases; it’s just a polite way to begin a Japanese email, a warning sign of sorts, one that’s used on the phone as well. Does it require a translation or easily identifiable English equivalent? Hell no. Get used to it.