Watch and learn: Japan offers America a lesson on dealing with bad economy

Are the lessons from Japan's "Lost Decade" in store for Americans n the coming years, as we experience the fallout from the current ugly recession?

If they are, things will be bleak indeed, as Japanese consumers exacerbated deflation, saved money in every way they could such as reusing old bath water to do the laundry, rationed vegetables so much that cabbage stew becomes a staple meal, saw wages shrink even as companies rebound, and became a nation of temp workers as companies looked for ways to cut costs.

Those are just some of the adaptations Americans may have to follow from the Japanese, according to a New York Times story on the issue.

A boom in export to the United States and China helped Japan pull itself out of the Lost Decade of the 1990s, although Japanese consumers are still afraid to spend. Per-capita consumer spending rose only 0.2% between 2001 and 2007 in Japan.