There is something about Japan - politeness
Of various countries I have travelled, Japan is very special. There is something different about this country, something very special about the people. They are polite from bottom of their heart, not just for the sake of it but thats the way they want to be. Even when they are speaking on phone, they bow down to show ... Sorry, none can really see it.. To communicate their respect. I got into the airport limousine bus at Narita airport. As the bus was leaving I noticed that the luggage handlers had bowed down and stood in that position till the bus disappeared. Isn't that amazing?
They follow rules. Everyone does that, what's so different. The difference is how the rules are enforced. I live in Singapore - the fine city. The government uses "fines" which are imposed on almost everything to force people to follow the rules. US uses police presence and empowerment to make people follow the rules. Guess what makes people follow rules in Japan - social pressure. No fines, no penalties, no police just the desire to be seen as civic and accepted by society. You can't speak on cellphone when you are traveling in Japan. Japanese believe it annoys the neighbors. Personally, i find it quite strange, its is OK to speak to one another loudly in Japan but not on phone. But this rule is followed to the limit. You will not find a Japanese speaking on phone ever in a train or a bus. Many foreigners - like me - do it, but they are pardoned out of politeness.
The best incidence I experienced is the cream with cherry on top. I was standing in my friends home, his neighbor's dog looked at me and started barking. Within 30 seconds, his lady appeared to investigate. She noticed her pet was being impolite by barking on someone needlessly. She bowed down, 45deg, I could hear or understand what she was saying, but an apology from bottom of her heart about irresponsible behavior of her pet was written all over her face. She took the dog away and bowed down again as she was leaving.
There is something special about Japan, people here want even their pets to behave politely with other!