You forget how much Japanese culture permeates Western minds.

Sushi, teriyaki, ramen, and tempura. Japanese gardens, Buddhism, temples, and dojos. Sumo wrestlers, geishas, and kimonos. Manga, anime, and karaoke. Samurais, kamikazes, and karate.

Yes, while you'll feel very new being in such a foreign land, you'll often be reminded of all the past influences the Japanese culture has made upon you. There is nothing like experiencing them all first hand however.

And Hokkaido even has its own distinctions from the rest of the country too.