But this similarity should not be over-stated. The differences between the UK and Japan still massively outweigh the similarities. Heaven has Japanese food and trains; British parks and comedy. In Hell they eat over-boiled vegetables and are “entertained” (sic) by Japanese “talent” (sic) shows. Even an area of supposed similarity such as the less direct mode of verbal interaction is only a similarity when contrasted with the larger gulf between the American and Japanese manner of speech. Modern Brits are still much more vocal and direct in expressing their opinions than most Japanese. Anyone from the UK will feel much more at home in America or Europe than in Japan.
So there is a large cultural gap between the UK and Japan even in 2012, but it is certainly much smaller than it was in earlier times. The globalised, Americanised culture of the 21st century gives us all a number of shared experiences to discuss as we sip our Starbucks coffee. Imagine, as I have tried to do in my book, how it felt to be a Brit setting foot in Japan 150 years ago. How far from England the traveller must have felt, and how little consolation it must have been that the locals also commented on the rain and had wonky molars.