Most Western nations are facing the problem of ageing populations, but Japan is really leading the pack, with its combination of a very low birth rate, healthier diet and a good medical system. Japanese older people are just like elderly from any other part of the world, sometimes friendly and interesting to talk to, and other times unwilling to take crap from anyone as they dive for the last pair of shoes at a department store bargain sale. As an American living in Japan, it's can be interesting to strike up conversations with older Japanese, who will often talk about what the war years were like for them, or the time they saw General MacArthur, and there's an unspoken acknowledgement of all that's changed in the past 60 years. Since it's generally expected that the oldest son or daughter will take over the family house and care for the parents in their silver years, elderly folks generally have the benefit of lots of family around them, at least in the semi-rural prefecture where I live. Partially because of this system, and also (I've been told) because Japanese rarely leave the area where their family grave is located, you don't see people migrating to a different part of the country when they retire as is the case with Florida. The main social activity of Japanese retired people seems to be going to the doctor's office every day to sit and chat with friends while they wait to be seen by the doctor for some (usually imagined) pain, and if you ever get sick in Japan you'd better have a strategy for getting to the doctor's office early. While most of the older people living in my neighborhood are very genki (healthy, full of energy), there's one poor woman whose back is stuck at a 90 degree angle, making her unable to stand up at all. I'd always assumed this problem came a lifetime of planting rice by hand, but supposedly it's caused by a chronic vitamin B1 deficiency that was a chronic problem in the first few decades of the 20th century.