I don't know about Japan being magical, but onsens absolutely are.
all the inherent inconveniences (stores closed early etc.)
Very wrong, bigger cities in Japan are full of 24h super markets and restaurants. Even normal store close very late, although they do open late as well. Makes sense when you consider how long days they work.
Japan has a serious problem with a declining birth rate. I've heard estimates that its population will have shrunk by 1/3 by 2050. Their workforce is aging rapidly and I believe their national debt is unrivaled even by Greece ($10.46 trillion USD). Young people aren't making better wages than their parents and often continue to live with their families well into their twenties. Also, rising demand for western food is destroying their local farming industry. In short, things are looking bad for "Glorious Nippon".
Japan does have a massive national debt, but it's mostly from domestic creditors so their situation isn't comparable to PIGS. Living with families varies on where you live, and obviously people who move elsewhere to study have to move anyway. Property values in Tokyo, for example, have been decreasing as new and bigger apartment complexes that can house more people are being built. Also, you can't really use that as a negative since living with your family is a very cultural thing. Just look at Italy.
Woolie Wool said:
Do you really think a 45-year-old bank manager in Nagoya with three children would watch Elfen Lied, or if he did, would ever admit to such a thing?
Two words: Rozen Aso.
They're incredibly stubborn even if it brings their downfall (ie Sega of Japan making terrible decisions and not even entertaining the notion that they could be bad).
That's related to the cultural concept of losing face, which isn't unique to Japan. In Japan it's considered extremely rude to tell your superiors that they have done something wrong because you're basically shaming them. If a top executive in a Japanese company makes a decision, he's unlikely to ever fall back on that not because he's stubborn, but because of the perceived shame and losing of face that he'd experience from admitting having been wrong. This is, obviously, a very unhealthy concept in the modern world where things happen and change much faster, and hopefully Japan (and any other countries where this concept still lives) can get rid of it eventually.
Re Japs are racist: Having spent about five months there, I have to say I've yet to see any kind of racism. There's definitely a certain degree of xenophobia involved, especially among older people, but there are also some incredibly awesome oldtimers there as well. I'm convinced that most stories about "racist" Japanese people have involved either the far right lunatics, or the gaijins in question have somehow broken the Japanese cultural norms. They are fairly strict about that, but then again, when in Rome... And as anyone who's been travelling probably knows, there are still some pigs around who think that just because they're bringing foreign money to this country they're allowed to do whatever they want. Well, turns out that the Japanese don't take as kindly to that as Thais whose livelihood depends on tourism do...
Last edited by Jodwin on 04-21-14 at 13:03