Hmmm...since your hair is course, I would stay away from gels that contain protein. Also, are you looking for products you can find on the ground in Japan? Or are you planning to order online? Not sure what the product availability is like over there. I read on another post that you said the climate is very humid, so I would also stay away from stylers that contain glycerin.
That being said, I too prefer more of a soft hold than hard hold, and I like more natural jelly products over traditional gels. My favorites so far are Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Uncle Funky's Daughter Curly Magic, Curly Kinks Coil Jam, Shea Moisture Curling Souffle, and As I Am Curling Jelly. The Curly Kinks, Shea Moisture and As I Am all contain glycerin, so I'm not sure these would work for your hair type. Curl Junkie makes Pattern Pusha gel that is glycerin and protien free that I believe is a light hold gel - or there is Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle (more of a serum/gel). I've never tried either of these, but they might work.
If you're looking for grocery store/drugstore stuff that is more readily available on the ground, Aussie Instant Freeze and Biosilk Rock hard gelee are both glycerin free, but I think they may contain protein. They also may be more hold than you want (although the Biosilk does not seem heavy to me - just dries super crunchy).
Hopefully more gel users will chime in with some good suggestions
2c/3a, botticelli/wavy/'swavy (huh?)
fine, dense, normal porosity/elasticity, dry climate
My favorite brands are Kinky Curly, As I am, Curly Kinks, Curl Junkie, and Darcy's Botanicals. Also love sealing with oils (loving argan oil right now) and styling with jelly products (KCCC is my current favorite). Mostly trying to keep it simple!
CG since 12/29/2011