I have the S9 and my 1/4” foot when I engage it defaults to 8.3 and it is exactly 1/4” on my machine. It works really well and you get used to the needle not being in the centre of the machine. I like you thought that the needle being out to the right would be awkward, but when I sat down at the machine and started to sew, it all fell into place and seemed normal.
I’ll tell you a story about my first experience with Janome, when I got my MC6000 the default needle position for straight stitch sewing was on the LEFT. I though I would lose my mind with the needle being on the LEFT, but it didn’t. I don’t think I even bothered to put it into the centre when I first started sewing on the machine. I did however, put my Pfaff 1222 away and forced myself to get used to the new one. My instincts were to keep sewing on the “familiar”, so I made a huge decision to put the old one away. I replaced it because I wanted more decorative stitches and so I needed to make it my “go to” machine and get used to the new one. That might seem strange but sometimes we want something new and once we have it, we don’t want to make the effort to learn how it works. I still used the Pfaff to do things that the wonderful “walking foot” system it had do those kind of jobs. I didn’t get the walking foot for my new Janome, but still needed the function, so I used both and then a serger added to the line up in that same time frame - I don’t remember exactly if the sewing machine or serger got the first place on the table as it was in the early to middle 1980’s and I was raising 4 kids - 2 still at home and 2 in the early grades of school - so still lots of work. My story here is just explaining that you too will get used to what seems strange on your new S9. All the 9mm Janome’s have this 1/4” foot and the acufeed flex is the same.
Good luck with your machine. I’m sure you will learn to love it.
Cheryl - Saskatoon