My main problem is that I don't have a Japanese OS. This means that every time a Japanese character appears in a menu or dialog box, it shows up as a question mark. It's pretty tough to use software effectively when all the pull-down menus look like this picture.
Luckily the manual has screen shots of all relevant menus, so I can refer to the book when I want to know what's what. It's simply time-consuming to have to keep searching for the right page. I'm sure that eventually I'll memorize everything by its location and number of question marks, but that'll take a while.
Update: Thanks to sara_tanaquil's great advice, I have gotten it to display properly. Yay!
In the meantime, I managed to design one bunny pattern. I await wednesday_10_00's verdict, whenever she gets back from her weekend getaway.
It's really hard to get designs to come out with smooth lines. There are a couple ways to import images. The easiest one assigns all the stitches for you automatically, but if you don't like what it did, it's a real pain to change. For the second, you have to import the picture and then convert it into a black-and-white line drawing (which is what I did with the bunny). It winds up looking like a coloring book image that you fill in with whatever colors and such you like. The problem is that the lines are composed of choppy line segments, so you have to keep fiddling around with the segments to try to get them to look smooth.
I'm sure I'll figure out the most efficient method if I play with it long enough...