Just an update on this topic. I have tried making cheese a number of times this spring. I never was able to find proper supplies here and so just ended up ordering them from New England Cheesemaking like I had in the US. Their international shipping was fairly reasonable if you ordered enough stuff. I did also find a few basic things like rennet on Amazon Japan.
Anyway, all of my batches were failures in some sense. Even though I was using the same supplies I used in the US, I couldn't get the curd to a clean break. One time I got something very close, but I don't remember doing anything special. I made multiple attempts, always being sure to follow my book (200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes) as closely as I could. I even tried two different brands of milk and also tried adding extra calcium chloride and / or rennet. My results always came out somewhere between true clean-break curds and yogurt*.
I suspect that it has something to do with how they pasteurize or homogenize the milk here (I am guessing homogenization since the shelf life of the milk would not seem to indicate UHT pasturization - however, if anyone with more knowledge would care to comment, I would appreciate it). I am going to try again with additional brands of milk and even see if I can try and track down a local dairy farm. Thankfully I live far enough north, that that is a possibility.
Anybody have other advice on what might be wrong?
* Just a note for anyone else that may end up with semi-curds like this. If you are careful, you can hang these in a cheesecloth with the corners pulled up and drain off the majority of the whey and then transfer them to a mold and press them (starting light and increasing the pressure gradually). It's a lot more work and the resultant product isn't really suitable for aging, but you do end up with something that is at least usable.