I remember reading a British writer who was envious of the American ability to be casually friendly with total strangers. That's one of the things I love the most about the US, but what really makes me envious is their political optimism.
Japanese are completely jaded when it comes to politics. We've been driven to the brink of annihilation, to the depth of hell by our politicians, it's a wonder we have any trust left at all. When was the last time any Japanese person had any real hopes for his/her prime minister? Most of the time, we're just holding our breath, hoping he (and I can only use the male gender pronoun here!) won't screw things up big time. (Imagine having a succession of Karl Roves governing your country.) Change the world? Ha. Just don't muck things up for your own people! (And because of our history, we are really leery of any politician who starts meddling in other countries' affairs.)