Dear Mr. Stephens,
It sounds as though you had some negative experiences in Japan. I'm sorry about that. My experiences there have been generally positive and I stand by my original post. I'm sorry you disagree. I'll elaborate a little. For instance if an acquaintance called you by your last name only "hey Stephens!" that would not be considered polite, would it? "hey Rich!" would probably be more exceptable, neh? People who are acquaintances would use last name + san, which = Mr./Mrs./Ms./etc..., in Japan. But here would use first name only. That's what I meant.