I write a lot about the ways Japan has changed in the two decades I've lived here. When I first arrived back in 1991, the country was still a very closed place, with very few new products and ideas entering from the outside world, and very few choices for Japanese consumers. Happily, the long post-bubble recession coupled with the arrival of the Internet would bring some welcome changes for the country. Back in the day, the only source of English news of any kind of the Far East Network, the AM radio station broadcast by the U.S. armed forces, but now thanks to the Internet and smartphone revolution I can work out at the gym while streaming BBC news programs or even local San Diego radio news, which would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. The retail world has changed, too, with the arrival of large, efficient chains from overseas, like Toys R Us, Amazon.com and Starbucks. These companies have had a disruptive effect inside Japan, to be sure -- a large toy distributor J-List used to buy from went bankrupt when Toys R Us arrived in the marketplace -- but the end result has been positive for Japanese consumers. Costco has been an especially welcome addition to life in Japan, allowing us to buy hard-to-find foods like American hot dogs, which my wife insists are a great food to serve for breakfast for some reason. The main downside of having Costco in Japan is is that it's harder to buy omiyage (souvenirs) for the J-List staff when returning from the States -- we can't just get whatever looks good from the San Diego Costco, but actually have to look hard for interesting gifts instead.
Japan has certainly changed a lot in the past 20 years.