At the end of lunch with an old friend, I point out yet another hole in my Swiss cheese knowledge of Japan.

"I've never really understood this whole 'Kansai/Kanto' thing. I mean, sure, I've traveled to Kyoto, Osaka and so on. But I've never figured out what's so different. Kansai? Kanto? Tokyo? Osaka? It all seems the same to me."

Her jaw drops. She swoons and grips the table for support. "You're kidding, right?"