First Sweden, now Japan

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The Independent Online

A most rewarding week for indulging in European national stereotypes, particularly when viewed from the traditional Anglo-Saxon island perspective.

A most rewarding week for indulging in European national stereotypes, particularly when viewed from the traditional Anglo-Saxon island perspective.

The French, having spent weeks doing the shrug, are now running around excitedly. The Spanish are still trying to get their hands on Gibraltar. The Germans are trying to get their hands on Wembley, the historic site of our only genuine achievement since 1945.

The Greeks, meanwhile, have been beastly to upholders of an eminently sensible, ancient British custom, plane spotting. The Italians, for their part, have been arguing that Parma ham should be sliced in Parma and not by Asda.

Quite. No wonder we're not ready just yet to share a currency with these people. Still, plaudits must go to the concerted attempt by media outlets here to shift native perceptions of Sweden. Now for a crack at the Japanese.

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