It's the little things that get me. See, I've been building this world for almost a year now (time of short story development, and now with the novel). As I've said it's a world of what would have happened if California suffered the Big One(tm) in the late 70s. Our US economy wasn't in such good state so we couldn't rebuild, so China stepped in and did an economic take over of the West Coast. While there are still functioning central State and US Governments, they've been weakened enough that the city-states rise to prominence (at least on the West Coast). This way you get the strange mix of Sino-West Coast cultures (and I get to flatten out the maps and redraw the lines, very fun that).
But this nagging thought keeps coming back. See, China wasn't such an economic force in the 70s. They were still fairly insular and they spent an inordinate amount on their military. So in the Real World(tm) China wouldn't have been able to help out in the late 70s. Today, sure. They could rebuild after Katrina with just the interest payments on their US Bonds. In the 70s and early 80s though, Japan's hand was on the Asian Economy gear shifter. It would have been Japan coming in to rebuild (if you're old enough you might remember the Japanese Scare of the 80s when people here in the US realized "OMGs they're buying all our property" (really, this was a big concern).
Plus, if I shifted the story to include Japan it would also work out that in the 90s Japan's economy had the lost decade. They would have had to pull back to the islands, leaving the West Coast to fend for itself (which is a part of the story line). It would also explain some of the "honor" issues happening in the background of the story and the prevalence of katana and wakizashi sets. Much of the story with China can stay in place as now (and the near future) China is running the economic gear shifter of Asia. It would also explain some of the strange blending of sino-cultures I have going on.
So that's a bullet on Things I Must Change(tm) after I finish out the book. Like I said, it won't change much, but it'll make more sense.