Well, maybe it’s more frustration with the English numbers than infatuation with the Japanese.
My sister has a house that she is currently not living in. She kept the electricity on, but turned the AC very low and turned off everything else. After the first month she told me her electric bill was only $90. I thought that isn’t bad, but that certainly isn’t good either. Seeing my confused facial features, she then pronounced it out as nine-TEEN dollars. Now that’s an electric bill I could live with.
In Japanese we wouldn’t have had that problem. Nineteen is just ten + nine. Ninety would be the opposite—nine + ten. Clear and simple.
Then again, maybe the Japanese number system isn’t the numerical utopia after all. Everything is fine until you get to 10,000. From there you have to do mental aerobics to get higher numbers. For one million, you have to say a hundred ten thousands. Ten million is a thousand ten thousands. Things get easier with a hundred million. That would be 一億 ichi oku. But the relief is short; start sweating with one billion. Yep, you guessed it: 十億 juu oku.
For more on numbers take a look at the TJP page on numbers. (the link will change in a few weeks, so if you find this is a bad link, please leave a comment here!)