We have shops where you can buy a crappy version of almost any household good for only 99 yen.
We have department stores (I am looking at you, Ito-Yokado) where one can clothe an entire family in decent style for a miniscule fraction of one's monthly income.
We have the products of Japan's heavy industry, automotive industry, silicon industry and garbage collectors filling cargo containers headed east. The paychecks and bonuses from those exports fill the wallets and bank accounts of millions.
And in Kawasaki, Toyosu and dozens of other former industrial zones, we see high rise condominium and apartment complexes rising along broad avenues lined with plane trees and sakura, with easy access to train stations and brand new schools and hoikuen, where thousands of ashen-faced laborers once toiled.
The bill was going to come due someday.
That someday was May 8.
Japan's problem is not its constitution. Yet that is all we hear everyone talking about these days.
A kamikaze, has come....but not to save Japan.
The barricades are broken; the moat is crossed. If it wants to save itself this time, Japan will have engage its great neighbor in ways the current crop of politicians cannot even imagine.
And we all will have to stop dreaming that we can avoid the paying the bills for our ever so comfortable lives.
============================== * On May 8, all over Japan, the photochemical smog alert sirens sounded.
A week after this day.