It is already two weeks since I returned from Japan to Israel, but I am still living under the "shadow" of Japan, comparing pros and cons of Japanese and Israeli societies. It took me a while to start appreciating Japan, but I would definitely prefer living in Israel because of some of its advantages which are totally lacking in Japan.
During my last visit to Japan I realized how boring life is in Japan in spite of its order and precision, as it is too mechanical and "sterile". Lack of sense of humor and lack of spontaneity really drove me crazy. Upon my return to Israel, I have started enjoying spontaneous humorous talks with owners and workers of grocery stores and supermarkets as well as other stores and companies. Japan used to be like Israel in this respect, at least in the time and place in which I spent my childhood, but in the meanwhile it has become such a boring (and even scaring) place in terms of interpersonal communication. Most of the vernal and nonverbal interactions have become so formulaic, therefore predictable and void of any intellectual stimulus.
Such lack of spontaneity can even be dangerous, as they do not know how to behave verbally and nonverbally in those situations that are not prescribed in their "manuals". Lack of sense of humor is even more scary, as they have no mental defense mechanism coping with unexpected crises.
I think the whole approach to life in Japan is sick and wrong. It makes a list of possible "threats" and other problems that can be predicted in advance and tries to spare people the trouble of coping with them. But we can never predict every possible problem we may encounter in our life. The alternative approach as taken in Israel and probably in many other countries simply train their citizens how to cope with unexpected situations with the help of spontaneity and sense of humor. I am sorry and worried that Japan is becoming more and more "sterile" in this respect, but on the other hand, I am happy that I do not live in that kind of "sterile" society.