Being an American in Japan has been a good opportunity to learn more about…England. Yes, Japan has always had a special affinity for the British Isles, and the list of British influences on Japan is long indeed. (One could make the argument that all the unpleasantness of WWII was Japan basically wanting to be noticed by Britain-senpai.) When I first arrived in Japan I wondered at the way some trains were called 上り nobori (“climbing”) while others were 下り kudari (“descending”), and after a while I figured out that it referred to whether the train was going in the direction of Tokyo or not, a system borrowed from England 150 years ago. In addition to driving on the left-hand side of the road, the Japanese have imported words like “bonnet” (the hood of a car) and “saloon” (for a sedan), and institutions like Parliament, the Royal Mail Service, the BBC and 3 o’clock teatime have all been more or less cloned wholesale. If you’re an American who’s ever wondered at the Japanese use of “pants” for underwear (rendered as pantsu by fandom), that’s actually the British usage coming through Japan. If you want to watch an extremely cute anime that captures how the Japanese feel about the U.K., I highly recommend Kin’iro Mosaic.
The Japanese have a special love for the U.K.