mun78 wrote:They have their problems, like all other countries, but their people seem openly polite. I'm not sure of this, that's why one day I want to go to the country.
The "openly polite" thing is a common stereotype and one reason for this is related to how customer service is such a large part of Japanese business culture. Many companies have rigid step-by-step procedures in their employee training manuals on how to greet and address customers in addition to intense and at times, harsh training methods to accomplish this objective. Visit a gas station or most chain conbini's to see how serious service is taken at even the most mundane of customer service jobs.
For tourists who go on guided tours, their primary interaction with Japanese people are those working in service related positions which leads to this skewed perception that most Japanese are normally this polite and conscientious when the reality is it is more or less a superficial facade dictated by the employee training manual. Outside of the workplace, this same degree of helpfulness and polite behavior isn't as common and is like anywhere else where some folks are helpful while others won't even stop to give you the time of day. A great place to witness Japanese at their worse with varying degrees of rude or selfish behavior is during the early morning or late evening rush hour train commute (which I am glad to no longer be a part of).
Phearsome wrote:they tell me its a great place to visit but damn expensive.
This depends on what you do, where you go, and where you stay. Tourist traps are usually that way (over priced). Barhopping and nightclubbing can also be expensive but there are plenty of other inexpensive activities. The tourist info centers (TIC) have these booklets which gives tips on free walking tours, free attractions, coupons which offer discounts off of entrance fees to parks and museums. The one published by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is really good since many of the deals have an expiration date an year from the quarter the booklet was published.
There are also plenty of reasonably priced eating places where a home cooked style teishoku (lunch set) can be had for Y550-Y850 but most of these are off the beaten path in the back alleys or a hole in the wall (there are also chains like Ootoya which also offer inexpensive home style lunch and dinner sets). Kichijoji and Shimokitazawa are two of my favorite places I enjoy walking around to find good but inexpensive eating places.
When I go back for visits, I stayed in regular business hotels (Y6000-8000 per night) but now use these hybrid hotel-resident type places like Tokyu Stay
since they have a washer and dryer, microwave oven (some have a mini kitchen) in the room. There are open markets where produce can be pretty cheap (so I would cook if I found good deals). I used to go either early in the morning to find bargains or near closing when more so, they discount whats left by a good amount.
As for the Japan fanatic who likes everything and anything to do with Japan and views it as some perfect place without faults and making that determination based mostly upon images derived from Japanese popular culture (mainly through anime, jpop, dorama), I think these types tend to be a tiny but vocal minority of the various communities. Most people tend to be a bit more realistic and don't need to visit Japan to realize that it has its own set of issues and is not necessarily like how the popular culture makes it out to be. As a matter of fact, I've met some who have been to Japan on numerous occasions but still have a whacked view because they only stuck to the "fantasy land" entertainment type of activities in Tokyo (like maid bars, anime, and JAV shops in Akiba, going to the idol shops in Harajuku, spending an entire day at Mandarake in Nakano Broadway, the adult entertainment nightlife in Shinjuku, the clubs in Shibuya and Roppongi, you get the drift....) and never really taking the time to dig past all that stuff to discover at least some of the real Japan during their time there.