So, I'd been without a sword here for around 3 weeks. I had started going into sword withdrawal, so I did some research on sword shops in the Tokyo area. One that was mentioned several times was a place called Sakuraya, near the Nihon Budokan. I went there, and managed to not drool. It is to iaidoka what General Nanosystems is to computer geeks. The shopkeeper was an older Japanese man who spoke some English, so between that and my woefully inadequate Japanese we were able to go over what I wanted. I suppose most foreigners who make it to his shop want to buy the longest iaito he offers, because he initially tried to sell me a 2.5 shaku sword. I said that I generally prefer something around 2.3 - 2.4 shaku in length, and that's when I think he realized I was actually looking for a sword to use for iai, rather than yet another dumb gaijin looking for a souvenir. He started pulling out many swords of the length I asked for and the price range I was looking at, and after about a half hour of him showing me different swords, I decided on the one I wanted. I paid for it, and he packaged it in a nice little 'to-go' package, complete with carrying handle. So, yes, you were right Steve... I wasn't able to make it very long without a sword. Here's a link to some pictures of it:
p.s. John, you might be interested to know that my electric Kanji dictionary actually has BOTH ways of writing Karate! I was kind of surprised, because usually they only show the modern way of writing it.