Great post. Even as Maciamo pointed out, you're only focusing on two of his points that were discussed a bit in this thread, your points raised about the attitude to nature and the cost (time and money) of access are good ones. This is something I miss myself, being able to easily access more natural areas from my home. Previously, in Hong Kong of all places, a reservoir area was just a ten minute bus ride from my home in the New territories, or later from my village on Lantau Island (now near the new airport). In the US it was similar, I sometimes lived just minutes from canoeing and hiking areas. Here, it's more like an all-day affair to get to nicer areas that are often overcrowded. I only dream about day hikes now .

I would claim that the natural conditions of some of the national parks here are not well maintained. As a prime example, the aforementioned Oze garbage dumping cleanup which was highlighted in the news recently, where tons of garbage were located and removed from this part of Nikko National Park. Many of the owners of the inns and pensions located in and on the edges of the park couldn't be bother to pay to remove garbage generated by their paying guests.

Another area, though not a national park, is the shoreline areas in Japan. Some Japanese rave about natural and historic Kamakura, yet when I visited there the beach was literally a garbage dump! It certainly seems that Japanese perspectivess of nature are slightly different than Western perspectives.

As to the interest in nature programs, I too am less interested in accurate cataloguing of species of trees, etc. It is similar with art, I know what I like, I don't always need to memorize the history of the painter's background and style to appreciate the paintings I look at. So I don't fault the Japanese for a lack of interest in botany or zoology.

I really do think that this current generation in Japan is 'tech-crazy', and that may be causing some people to be less interested. Also, I think some people see rural living as less fashiobale. Finally, because of government influence on education people are also less interested in the great outdoors. Certainly in more rural areas in Japan it is not necessarily the case, but the majority of Japanese live in urban areas.

But then again, in many other countries so do large populations that work in the city, either living there or nearby as they also do in Japan. Is it that most Japanese cities are not built with keeping natural areas nearby, in other words, do the suburbs expand so much they become urbanized suburbs as well? Like the infamous Tokyo to Hiroshima Honshu Island industrial/commercial/residential sprawl, sometimes you can go forever and never escape a very unnatural landscape (kinda reminds me of some parts of New Jersey! Garden State indeed).