So what to do? In my hunting the last few days, here's what I've discovered.
1) Most electronics stores do not carry laptops with an English keyboard. If they do, then they'll most likely be found in Tokyo or another metropolis. Don't expect to walk into a local store and walk out with a laptop if you expect to get an English keyboard.
*Note: I haven't actually gone through and asked every single electronics store in Japan of course, but from stores around where I am (Shizuoka), there aren't.
2) Most stores probably don't offer an option of ordering a laptop with an English keyboard (see note above).
3) Shopping online, perhaps on a product's company site, is possible, but in most cases will be frustrating (if you can't read Japanese). So far, I've found that Sony allows options to choose an English or Japanese keyboard. However, the site is all in Japanese. I've also checked Toshiba, Fujitsu, Acer, and NEC (all the main computer brands in Japan, aside Sony) and none of these have any options for ordering an English keyboard online.
4) Pamphlets at electronics stores generally list whether the computer has a ten-key on the laptop, and say nothing about an English keyboard.
So, how do you find the elusive laptop with an English keyboard?
1) Buy a Mac
Yes, I know, I'm biased. I own a Mac, and have been a loyal Mac user since I was a child. However, they are great computers - user-friendly, have few technical problems or virus issues, are easily recyclable, can run Windows (if you can't live without it) and are just plain amazing. Plus, it is easy to order a Mac in Japan, with an English keyboard! Low hassle.
2) Buy a Sony Vaio
I can't recommend it, as I don't know much about the Vaio, having not used it. I know Sony is a good brand, they seem like nice computers, and are typically priced about the same as Macs. However, if you want a laptop with an English keyboard, that is a PC, then this is probably the best option.
3) Buy an English keyboard (external)
Yes, it defeats the purpose of a laptop. However, if you just want a PC laptop, and want the ease of writing less often than all the time, this may be an option.
4) Buy a laptop before coming to Japan, or order online from an English-speaking country
Laptops are easily portable, so no problems with bringing them to Japan. May need a converter if not from the US, but otherwise, no big deal. Or, just order a laptop online, from an English-speaking country. Yes, the shipping may cost more, but time is money too, isn't it?
*One reader noted in regards to ordering online, that the customs fees are exorbitant, so if you DO consider ordering one online, prepare to fork over even more cash.
If anyone has had a different experience feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Again, I didn't call every electronics store and ask, nor did I travel to Tokyo to find one. This is more for those living outside of metropolises. I'll update this as I learn more or find anything different.