and yes, my "neighbor" lives in Tokyo... it's funny about our impressions and what has gone into forming these mental images. For example the most recent stats regarding population and areas...
Japan: 126.8 million / 378,000 km2
California: 39.5 million / 424,000 km2
USA: 327.2 million / 9,834,000 km2
and just for fun...
Japan coastline: 29,751 km (18,486 mi)
California coastline: 1,350 km (840 mi)
The controlled access multi lane expressways of Japan have a total length of 10,021 km (6,227 mi) or 8x the length of California...
There's a popular weekly TV show called "You" where the reporter interviews newly arrived foreign visitors about why they came to Japan. The reporter follows selected individuals during their time here. Each show has multiple interviews and maybe 2 detail segments. It's a very diverse and interesting show.