James Fallows has a splendid snapshot (ha!) of the differences between Japan and China:
With usual caveats against sweeping generalization, what this made me think was: Japan is all about the
way of doing things. Practice, ritual, perfectionism, as much fanatical
attention to the process as to the result. China is all about finding a way to do things. Improvisation, little interest in rules, putting up with whatever is necessary to attain the result...
At the moment, I am feeling positive toward both approaches. The emphasis on the right way of doing things is re-surprising on each encounter with Japan. And the determination to do things in China, no matter what, commands respect, despite the obvious complications and problems it creates.