I’m a big fan of Japan, especially the greater Tokyo area. It appeals to the town planner in me. The Japanese have managed to build a megacity with a population of around 13 million people, squeezed in the most impressive transport infrastructure and still have plenty of quiet, civilised, streets; this is a bigger achievement than the wider world has credited.
Globally, people are leaving rural areas and heading for cities. If anybody wants to know how to squeeze lots of people into a relatively small area, while still providing very human-scale districts, quiet areas, an immaculate environment and locally clean air, then Tokyo is the template.
As much as a cliché as it sounds, it really is all about the Japanese attention to detail, meticulous planning and the country's ability to execute complex production and manufacturing processes. As well as the ability to re-build and re-start manufacturing after the Great East Japan earthquake on 11 March 2011 in just six months.
While this could result in a certain soullessness, the things that I own that are Japanese designed and built are far from it. My Nikon and Olympus cameras are beautifully crafted and beautifully built. The sensation in the hand, especially of the big Nikon is exquisite.