This site: 〔〈Japanese Culture: A Primer for Newcomers〉 @ http://www.thejapanfaq.com/FAQ-Primer.html〕 offers great insight into the Japanese culture. It is very negatively written but does give the nature of things in Japan, and to some extent, Asia.
I visited Tokyo for 10 days in 2003, and Taiwan for 3 months. I grew up and lived in Taiwan till i was 14, and have not been back in Asia for the next 20 years. My adult life is spent mostly in California, USA. I'm fairly familiar with the ways of Chinese since i grew up in Taiwan, but i have not kept in touch with Asian community since.
The trip back to Asia is a great learning experience. For Japan, it was totally new. For Taiwan, i get to see my birth town, to see how places have changed since my childhood memory, and to see what the nation and people is really like from a grown-up and visitor perspective.
Upon my interest in human animal behavior, i now had a deeper understanding of the Asian culture. The Western, on the whole, is materialistic and personal freedom oriented. The Eastern, is one bag of metaphysical philosophies and ethicality. The cultural ills of Japan as exhibited in their affectation and round-about language and alcoholism and smoking and Pachinko urban addictions and deviant pornography, is a paragon of the ills of Asian's age-and-homage oriented values.
Along with the Japanese FAQ site is the article “Why are prices in Japan so damn high?” at
Also worth reading are “Japanese Festivals and Celebrations”, “Japanese Manners and Etiquette” on the site.
See also: A article on Japan's economy: 〔Econoclast, In the clamor of voices foretelling Japan's economic destiny, there is one that matters. Meet Karel van Wolferen. By Gary Wolf, Wired. @ http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.10/van_wolferen_pr.html〕
Here is article that exhibit many interesting Japan cultural oddities. 〔JAPAN SAQ (SELDOM ASKED QUESTIONS) By Edjacob@Tky3.3web.Ne.Jp. @
See also the book: 〔Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation By Michael Zielenziger. @ amazon〕