Great read, Chris, and for someone who isn't in America and hungers for information about gear that is not American, very interesting. Of course, since it was just a general description the lack of photos only makes me yearn to see more.
One great thing about Japan is that since most gear here comes from overseas the Japanese are always keen for the best of what is out there. Yeti, for instance, sells their sleeping bags here. Other companies that I've seen no where but in Europe, but are sold here are Fjallraven, Haglofs, Eider, Camp, Millet (wildly popular), Norrona, Helsport, Artiach, Mammut, Lafuma, Lowa, Jack Wolfskin... to name just a few. For some reason British kit is rarely present, except Montane, I think perhaps because British clothing and styling rarely fits Japanese physiques. But that doesn't answer why tents and packs are not more represented, of course. I think the Japanese would love the Terra Nova tent range, though they only just catching on to the the joys of the Hilleberg Akto and still haven't grasped outer-pitch first tents yet. The last time I spoke to someone about the Akto they advised me against purchasing it "because the tent doesn't have a floor. There is a good chance you will get wet in our torrential rains."
Every year Japan puts on two great outdoor shows, one in Tokyo and one in Osaka, but unfortunately no one much notices them in America and Europe. Sad, since there is some wonderful gear from Japan and the Japanese are nuts about the outdoors.